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Acroyoga

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Participating in acroyoga in a park.

Acro-yoga is a physical practice which blends elements of yoga, acrobatics, performance and healing arts.[1]

There are two schools of Acroyoga. Acroyoga Montreal, led by Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku, has used the term since 2001 brings together acrobatics, yoga and dance/performance.[5] Acroyoga Inc., which began in California with Jason Nemer and Jenny Klein and was labelled as acroyoga in 2006. The latter practices brings together acrobatics, yoga and Thai massage.[6] Both schools offer teaching certifications, and despite some differences have many similar poses.

AcroYoga may provide physical and mental health benefits. In addition to the exercise and strength building aspects of AcroYoga the partner balancing can improve concentration and the massage elements can provide stress relief.[2] However Acroyoga is more vigourous than many traditional yoga practices and this may lead to more injuries.[3]

Roles

There are three primary roles in an Acro-yoga practice: base, flyer, and spotter.[7]

  • Base - this is the individual who has the most points of contact with the ground. Often this person is lying on the ground with the entire back torso in full contact. This enables both the arms and legs to be "bone-stacked" for maximum stability and support of the Flyer. Main points of contact with the flyer are the feet (generally placed on the Flyer's hips) and the hands (which either form handholds or grasp the shoulders).
  • Flyer - this is the individual who is elevated off the ground by the Base. The Flyer can move into a series of dynamic positions, and generally lets gravity do the work for them. A Flyer needs balance, confidence, and core strength.
  • Spotter - this is the individual who has an objective view of the partners, and whose entire focus is on making sure that the Flyer lands safely in case of any slips. The spotter can also make recommendations to the Base and Flyer to improve their form.

Elements

Acro Yoga acrobatic pose.

Acrobatics is the physical part of Acroyoga that uses gymnastics techniques to build strength, flexibility, trust and teamwork between partners. This is called Solar Acrobatic Practice by the California school. [8] Front plank is a basic Acroyoga pose where one partner (base) supports the flying partner above them with their hands and feet.[9]

Yoga reflects the physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines of traditional Yoga. This is called Yoga Practice by the California school.[10]

Acro Yoga therapeutic flying. This pose is called Super Yogi.

Therapeutics includes massage, therapeutic flying and partner yoga. The California school teaches Thai massage and inversion massage with their Lunar Healing Arts Practice.[11] The Montreal school differes from the California school in this area as they teach restorative and yin yoga.[12] A basic therapeutic pose is Folded Leaf in which one partner is inverted and supported on the vertical legs of the other partner whoes hands are then free for back massage.[13]

Learning Acroyoga requires strength training, flexibility training and technique training.[4] Strength training is accomplished through repetition of exercises like push-ups and hand walking. Flexibility training is best done at the end of a session with a partner. Learning good Acroyoga technique takes time and effort and is best learned with an expert teacher.[4] One important Acroyoga technique is called stacking the bones. This involves the base partner keeping arms and legs straight to mazimize the weight load on bones rather than muscles to support the flyer.[14]

Session

A typical Acroyoga session may include: [15]

  • Circle ceremony promotes communication and openness
  • Warm-up to gradually get your muscles ready for more strenuous exercise
  • Partner flow - continue warming up with asanas and stretching with a partner [16]
  • Inversions help build trust between the partners [17]
  • Flying and acrobatics
  • Thai Massage provides a chance for the flyer to become the giver and repay the base for their work [18]

Poses

There are many static acro yoga poses [19]. A series of acro yoga poses that are repeated in a continuous flow is called a Washing Machine [20].

External links

References

  1. Andrea Ferretti. "Partners in Play." Yoga Journal. June, 2008. Retrieved on May 16, 2008.
  2. Sam Malone. "AcroYoga : A New Form of Yoga.. "home-remedies-for-you.com Retrieved on Feb 2, 2014
  3. Eva Norlyk Smith, Ph.D. "The Yoga Injuries Debate: How 'Dangerous' Is Yoga, Really?. HuffPost Healthy Living. Mar 23, 2013. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Nemer, Jason and Sauer-Klein, Jenny. AcroYoga Flight Manual, 2008, acroyogo.org


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