Acro yoga can help strengthen your core muscles as well as your relationships. Wondering how that works? So are we! Read on to find out more.
Yoga, a form of physical training, was first mentioned in the Hindu scriptures, particularly the Rig Veda. It is prevalent in the Indian subcontinent but is presently being practiced all over the world. The chief aim in practicing yoga is to unite the human spirit with the divine spirit.
There are different forms and several benefits of practicing yoga. However, the main goal remains the same; to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation, and higher consciousness in the individual; in simple terms, it means to stay in touch with your inner self and find balance within your mental and physical being.
Yoga can keep you grounded and bring a sense of peace and calm.
Apart from that, other benefits it can offer are,
- Reduced stress
- Improved immunity,
- Improved flexibility, and
- Improved lung function.
As mentioned, there are various forms of yoga, one of the newest ones is acro yoga. It is unlike traditional yoga and has more to it.
But how is it different, and what more does it offer?
What is acro yoga?
Acro yoga is a physical practice that combines both acrobatics and yoga. It draws certain traditions, practices, and methodologies from circus arts, cheerleading, and dance acro. This form of yoga is partner-based, and hence it’s essential to build a partnership and work together in cooperation. This art form also plays on your trust and ability to engage with your partner since you will both support one another. It also encourages verbal communication.
Acro yoga uses gravity and your body weight to strengthen and stretch your body. It is a more vigorous form of traditional yoga and carries the risk of injury, and hence it’s essential to do it under the right guidance and with safety precautions.
Since this form of yoga is practiced with a partner, there are a few roles that you should keep in mind and see which suits you and your partner, respectively.
The primary roles are:
The role of the Base is to support the Flyer. Their central point of contact is with the ground. Often, this person is lying down with their entire back and torso in full contact with the ground. Their arms and legs are upright and used to stabilize and support the Flyer. Their point of contact with the Flyer is at their hips, groin, or abdomen, supported by the Base’s feet and their forearm or shoulders, supported by their hands.
The Base has two styles that they rely on,
Where they lie on their back and support the Flyer
Where they support the Flyer with their arms and shoulders
The Flyer is elevated off the ground and is supported by the Base. The Flyer can take on various dynamic positions and can use gravity to their benefit. A Flyer needs to have good balance, confidence, and core strength.
The spotter stands at a distance and observes the Base and the Flyer. Their role is to ensure that the Flyer lands safely in case of any slip-ups. They can also recommend points of improvement and direct the Base and the Flyer through their various poses.
Acro yoga is a new-age form of yoga, and it is only natural for it to incorporate various elements. The elements it includes in its style are,
- Icarian Pops
8 Amazing Benefits of Acro Yoga
Builds core strength
Acro yoga offers dynamic movements through its various postures and poses. You will find yourself working with gravity to your benefit, and at times you’ll find yourself using your strength to try and resist its pull.
Through these movements, you will start focusing on using your core, which can help strengthen it. As a Base, you will engage your core to support the Flyer, and as a Flyer, you’ll engage your core to try and find balance to complete your postures.
Acro yoga is a partner-based form of yoga. This means that you will be working closely with your partner. To ensure that you’re performing your poses and postures properly without injuring yourself, you need to concentrate not just on your body but on your partner’s movements as well. Even the slightest distraction can result in a slip-up that may or may not injure you.
To successfully practice acro-yoga, it is important to concentrate and read each other’s verbal, physical, and visual cues without much talking. Doing this will ensure that your concentration levels improve; chances are, so will your focus.
Stretches and relaxes your body
Acro yoga finds its roots in yoga, and yoga as an art form is practiced to stretch and relax the body. It goes unsaid that acro yoga, too, can help stretch and relax your body. The poses and postures performed, though not conventional, can help give your muscles the stretch it requires while also relaxing your body. You will feel a sense of peace and calm within since your body will now be settled.
Builds muscles in your legs, arms, and chest
As the Base, you will have to support the Flyer using your legs and arms. You will also be engaging your chest and core while holding them up. These actions will help develop and strengthen the muscles in your legs, arms, and chest.
As a Flyer, you will also be using your arms, legs, chest, and core. In the process of finding balance, resisting gravity, and performing your poses, you will naturally build and strengthen the muscles in your body.
Improves awareness of your body in space
As a Flyer, you are essentially just floating when you are being held up by just a pair of legs and arms (that do not belong to you). Your body is defying gravity. When you try to control your body and your movements in these conditions, you understand how your body can react in space. This can help bring you awareness of your body in space. It also allows you to master self-control without depending on external circumstances because anything can knock you off your center, quite similar to your body in space.
Improves stamina and improves memory
Acro yoga is a form of yoga, and yoga is known to improve your endurance and stamina. Acro yoga is no different. The various postures, asanas, and poses can help improve your stamina.
When it comes to memory, you will need to remember the order of your movements because once the Flyer is in the air, it becomes essential to remember the order of the postures and your next movement. Practicing this can help improve your memory.
May improve your relationship
We discussed that acro yoga is a partner-based exercise. We also mentioned that communication is key when it comes to this form of yoga. Now, suppose you happen to be practicing acro yoga with your significant other or someone close to you in relation. In that case, all the communication and trust that you contribute towards a good session of acro yoga can help build your relationship and maintain it. Trust and communication are the two foundational stones of any relationship. Once you start building and re-working on them through acro yoga, you will only see a positive effect on your relationship.
Acro yoga could also be a fun activity to partake in with your significant other.
Teaches you to make quick decisions
While practicing acro yoga, you will realize that anything can knock you off your center while in the air, and you might lose balance. This could often lead to the Flyer falling off and possibly hurting themselves as well as the Base. With this realization, your survival instincts also kick in, and you learn to take control of the situation by making quick decisions. Your decision could save you from the risk of injury.
Once you start thinking on your feet and making quick decisions while practicing yoga, you will start incorporating this into your everyday life as well.
Helps overcome your fear of falling
After countless falls and injuries, gradually, you’ll learn how to take control of the situation and land in such a way that you do not injure yourself or your partner. Acro yoga can teach you how to defy gravity through mindful deceleration with smooth, graceful movements.
So now, you won’t only have the support of your partner, you will also have faith in yourself and the skill to land a fall without hurting yourself. This way, you will definitely get over your fear of falling.
Might help you address conflicts head-on
Although acro yoga physically doesn’t help you address conflicts, the ideas and theories behind practicing this form will help you look at conflicts in a new light.
With this form of yoga, you learn that opposing forces can be used to find balance. Similarly, in your relationships, differing opinions do not have to be the reason for a conflict. You can have different opinions, find peaceful resolutions or middle ground, and essentially find balance. This way, you are finding balance in your relationship where opposing forces exist.
8 Acro Yoga Poses You Can Do At Home
Front Bird Pose
The Base in this pose has their back and torso in contact with the floor and their legs upright in 90 degrees with the floor, and hands by their side or in the namaste mudra. The Flyer’s hips are supported by the Base’s feet that are turned upwards, legs extended, and arms stretched out like a bird in flight.
In this pose, the Flyer is seated on the Base’s upward-facing feet, making it look like they’re sitting on a throne, hence the name. The Base in this pose has their back and torso in contact with the floor and their legs in 90 degrees with the floor, and hands in the namaste mudra or beside their torso, similar to the front bird pose. The Flyer is seated on the soles of the Base’s feet. Their upper thighs are rested on the soles, and their ankles go around the shin of each of the Base’s legs and are interlocked.
The star pose is one of the few poses where the Flyer is upside down. The Base is on their back with their legs and arms upright 90 degrees to the ground. The soles of their feet will support the shoulders of the Flyer, and their arms will support the arms of the Flyer.
The Flyer’s legs will be stretched out and in a V, making them look like a star.
Front Plank Pose
Similar to the birds pose, the Base will lie down on their back with their legs 90 degrees with the ground. Their arms are also upright and support the arms of the Flyer. The Flyer is supported by their hips placed on the Base’s feet that are turned upwards. The Flyer appears to be in a plank position.
The Base should lie on their back and have their leg in 90 degrees with the ground for this pose. The Flyer’s upper back is supported by the Base’s feet; their one leg is extended and held by one hand by the Base. The Base’s other hand is extended backward, whereas the Flyer’s hands are extended towards the ground and the Base. The Flyer’s leg that isn’t extended is folded in 45 degrees, and the knee is facing upwards. The Flyer’s head is bent back, and their entire body is arched.
Reverse Hand-to-Hand Pose
This pose is relatively easy and can be performed by beginners. The Base lies down on their backs with their feet flat on the ground and knees facing upwards. Their arms are outstretched to support the Flyer. The Flyer is on their toes and is inclined. Their arms are stretched out and are supported by the Base’s hands.
Back Bird Pose
The Base has their back and torso in contact with the ground, their hand in namaste mudra, their legs 90 degrees with the ground, and their feet facing upwards. The Flyer has their buttocks rested on the feet of the Base, with both legs outstretched and slightly bent at the knees. Their entire back is arched with their head bent backward, their hands outstretched, and their palms facing upwards.
A little more complicated version of this pose would be when the Flyer holds their ankles while staying arched.
For the chair pose, the Base lies on their back with their legs bent in 45 degrees and their shins parallel to the ground. The Flyer stands on the Base’s shins, bends their knee into a slight squat, inclines their back, and extends their arm, so their wrist, shoulders, and hips are in line. The Base’s hands help hold the Flyer’s feet in place.
Q: Who can do acro yoga?
A: Anybody that is physically active and doesn’t have any severe medical condition can practice acro yoga. Since acro yoga is a little more physically exerting than traditional yoga, it is important to have a history of some form of physical activity before you practice it.
Q: Can I do acro yoga alone?
A: Acro yoga is a partner-based practice. All the poses performed require the presence of a partner. However, if you happen to come to class alone, there are chances that the studio might have a few extra people assigned to pair up with individuals who come by themselves. If you’re comfortable with that practice, get in touch with your yoga studio and see what options they offer.
Q: Who should not do acro yoga?
A: If you experience vertigo, severe nausea, high blood pressure, or if you have undergone recent surgery, it is best to avoid acro yoga. If you are skeptical about your health and if you’re wondering if acro yoga will suit your lifestyle, get in touch with a doctor or a health professional, and also a yoga instructor to figure out what might work for you.
Acro yoga is a form of yoga that has been recently introduced. It is a culmination of dance, pilates, cheerleading, and yoga. Unlike traditional yoga, acro yoga carries the risk of injuring oneself, and that’s why it’s vital to practice this form of yoga under guidance and supervision.
Regardless of whether you start as a beginner or an expert, you will reap the same benefits. You will manage to strengthen your core, your leg muscles, chest, and even arms, for that matter. The benefits acro yoga offers don’t restrict to just physicalities; it also helps relieve stress, build trust with your partner, and help your body relax.