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Acroyoga is the fusion of three wonderful disciplines: Yoga, Thai massage and acrobatics, each of these disciplines brings its richness and depth to the practice, resulting in a practice not only of movement, but of sensitive communication, connection, trust and game
“Our highest goal is to bring people closer to a state of union with themselves, with each other and with the divine. From a space of mutual support, the true being can be realized, celebrated and shared for the benefit of all ”explains Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein, practitioners and diffusers of acroyoga.
Solar phase: The acrobatics cover the solar phase, in which the body figures of elevation and positions of mutual balance are carried out that help us to develop confidence in ourselves, strength and bring the fun of acrobatic activities.
Moon phase: It covers the most therapeutic part since the Thai massage and includes the initial stretching and Thai massages that are done at the end. In this practice we work on letting go, compassion and listening.
Awareness: Yoga, brings us the cultivation of consciousness led to the connection with the other, balance and breathing. Yoga is the link between solar and lunar practices.
How is acroyoga practiced?
During practice each person has a role:
- Base: It is the person who standing or from the ground and through the strength of his legs and arms keeps the flyer in the air, where he performs postures.
- Flying: is the person who climbs on the feet and hands of the base, must have abdominal strength, a lot of balance and confidence to stay on his partner, and must learn to let go and trust.
- Caregiver: who controls and takes care of the movements of the participants. It deals with therapeutic aspects, which include massages and stretching. Cultivating aspects from Yoga with acroyoguis, such as breathing, asanas, alignment and activation of the body.
What are the benefits of acroyoga?
An acroyoga session includes individual yoga, couple yoga and communal yoga. Game dynamics are created, to unite teamwork, to work fear, while individual yoga has more to do with internalization and meditation. Among the benefits of the practice are the following:
- Sensitive communication: Acroyoga is an exercise of trust and unity that is only possible through the development of a deeper relationship and communication with yourself and with the other person.
- Body fluidity and breathing: Both are essential to create a synchrony that allows coordination and safety in the acrobatics. It also allows the development of strength, flexibility, correct alignment and coordination. Stunts contribute to fantastic twists, elongations and alignments to train body balance, flexibility and lightness.
- Fellowship: Includes teamwork, and helps build relationships of friendship, support, companionship, help and care among all who make it up.
- Empowerment: The positions require challenging personal limits, insecurities that, together with the dynamism of the practice, allow acroyoguis to develop strength, security and awareness of the care of the other and of oneself.
- Therapeutic: The massages, relaxations and surrender that the practice implies allows to carry out a process of healing of relationships and fears.
- Fun: In addition to carrying out various games and dynamics, being a group acrobatic practice, laughs are guaranteed.
What activities are carried out in the practice of Acro Yoga?
- Games: One of the main activities is games, you can make games that have nothing to do with acroyoga, but that serve to cultivate qualities in the group, being one of the main trust.
- Circle of wisdom: ceremonial circles, also known as circle of wisdom open to the practice of breaths and meditations. Spaces are created for people to talk and share their experiences, for example, what they discovered thanks to the class, which was what they liked the most.
- Singing: You can sing mantras or sing using different musical instruments provided by the participants. The dynamics are done in a circle and have the objective of creating openness for what comes next
- Acrobatics and massage: basic acrobatics, advanced acrobatics are done and class is closed with Thai massage.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Basic principles of acroyoga
Acroyoga contains not only acrobatic elements, but also yoga asanas combined, as well as simple exercises for interaction, which are necessary in situations where newcomers may feel uncomfortable. Some important points of practice are:
- Weight distribution: Weight is easier to transfer and control using the rigid skeleton structure. That is, the contact points of the practitioners will be the bones. The main ones are the ilium, the base of the palm, the metatarsals of the feet (in some cases, the whole foot as a whole), shoulder blades, etc.
- Weight: For a comfortable practice, as a rule, it is better that the weight of the “steering wheel” is not greater than the weight of the “base”. This is especially important in the initial stages of the practice: your figures will be more stable and your feelings more comfortable.
- Surface: Classes are best performed on a soft surface. «This is especially important for beginners, otherwise the base will have pain in the lower back
- Pleasure: The safety of the practice should only bring pleasure. Do not allow pain, if you feel discomfort, inform your partner with the word “descent” or “below.” And when making new and complex elements in the air, be sure to follow the correct movement technique and the location of the contact points of the »base« and »steering wheel«. Your task is to avoid a fall
- Breathing: During practice, keep calm and breathing evenly and, best, synchronize breathing with your partner and accompany movements between asanas with inhalation and exhalation.
- Communication: In acroyoga, as in the practice of interaction, communication between partners is very important. It is important to listen to each other and act together, to agree verbally and nonverbally and to find a position in which you both feel comfortable.
- Game: Do not take what is happening too seriously, the goal is not to achieve the perfect result, but to perceive the process as an exciting game in which there are no losers. Laughter and joy of union is the safest indicator of a successful practice.
- Balance: The positions are not based on strength, but on balance, using the principles of yoga. In each position, find the most convenient structure, release all unnecessary tension, keep the attention on the body and relax the contact points.
Acroyoga origin and history
Its creation cannot really be attributed to a single person, but to a series of explorers who contributed to create it:
- Year 1985. AcroSage
Benjamin Marantz developed a sequence of twelve therapeutic support positions in 1985 when he served at the Waikiku Acrobatic Company in Honolulu. Combining massages and acrobatics, he laid the groundwork for most therapeutic “flight” positions and transitions from one position to another.
- Year 2001 AcroYoga in Montreal, Canada.
Eugene Poku and Jesse Goldberg first used the term AcroYoga. They, being dancers by profession, under the influence of yoga and acrobatics, decided to integrate these two styles into their dance art. Finally, that merger takes its name from what is now known as AcroYoga. Jesse Goldberg and Eugene Poku met at a dance studio in Montreal. Jesse danced ballet and modern jazz. She struggled to become a true professional in her field, and for that she needed to adapt to the standards of modern dance. Jesse weighed more than eighty kilos, which in the dance environment meant a tremendous obstacle.
Eugene was an independent dancer who acted on the streets of Montreal since 1974. Dancing was the only way to express the seething emotions of anger and hatred that emerged in Eugene from a constant encounter with prejudice and racism since his arrival in Canada from Ghana, a country in West Africa, in 1966.
At first, the relationship of the dancers was based on competition. Jesse and Eugene performed numerous dance improvisations between them, trying to identify which one was “cooler”. After much discussion about race, sexuality and the problems of humanity as a whole, they realized that they were united in much more than they could have imagined at the beginning.
The competition was over. Jesse and Eugene decided to combine their work. This is how «Special Mix» was born, whose objective was to completely change the stereotypes of not only scenic art, but also of life itself. The combination of contrasting dance forms with acrobatics, work with masks, martial arts, object manipulation, as well as the direct participation of the audience in the presentation, gave a truly revolutionary experience.
In 1998, yoga was added to this “mix.” Although Jesse and Eugene initially started practicing yoga just to improve their performance skills, yoga soon became the main focus of their attention on performances and life. Yoga changed its existence, and in 2004, together with Alison Yulan, they became founders, co-owners and directors of the Ashtanga Yoga Montreal center.
- Year 2003 ContactAcro in the USA UU.
On December 19, 2003, Jason Nemer and Jenny Klein met with a mutual friend in San Francisco. A few months before, they had already heard from each other. After the party, Jenny made a therapeutic yoga flight for Jason, and then Jason lifted Jenny at a handstand in her palms. This first meeting caused a spark that ignited in AcroYogi’s flames! Inspired by the fact that their abilities complement each other so successfully, as well as the unexpected ease and joy with which their collaboration took place, they could not leave until five in the morning, dreaming of a new practice that could be born from Your combined experience. That night, the foundations were laid on which the modern AcroYoga grew. Soon, in January 2004, Jenny and Jason began leading their class for couples at the San Francisco Circus Center. The first event of his joint career was a seminar held in the main yoga center of the city «Yoga Tree» the month following the beginning of his work and dedicated to Valentine’s Day, whose places were completely sold out. During the first year or a little more, they called their practice ContactAcro, and what they did was a great field for discoveries, experiments and games.
- Year 2005 AcroYoga is born and AcroYoga Inc is established
In April 2005, the name ContactAcro was changed to AcroYoga. Jason and Jenny were the first to patent the practice, write the first study guide for distribution and certify the AcroYogi teachers who come to study with them from all over the world. The first instructors were trained in this discipline in August 2006. Currently, more than 120 instructors have approved the certification, and the practice continues to exist through the efforts of the teachers who distribute it throughout the world and the community of adherents to This practice, which continues to develop it.
The word AcroYoga was coined earlier in Canada than in the US. But it cannot be recognized that it was Jenny and Jason who did much to spread this practice around the world and were very successful in this. On the other hand, this success was reinforced by all the efforts of its predecessors, as well as by the fact that the right moment came when the practice “matured.”
Regarding the complex issue of the relationship between Americans Jenny and Jason with the pioneers of the Canadian word AcroYoga Eugene and Jesse, Jesse writes about this: “We raise three children and run a yoga school. Our hobby and our passion is this AcroYoga. When we have time to do this kind of art, it is for us a sacred holiday and, at the same time, a moment of joy and fun. Our AcroYogi form was born organically from dance. We did not create anything new, all we did was put our way of expressing ourselves in those forms of movement that already existed in the Universe since the beginning of time. To declare the natural process as our property is against all the principles we support. ”