Acrobatic Yoga AKA AcroYoga is a hobbyist form of partner acrobatics where at least 2 people, a flyer and a base, move, balance and flow together to create beautifully artistic flows, poses, dance routines and washing machines. All ages, skill levels, races, ethnicities, colors, sexes, sexual orientations, shapes & sizes are welcomed.
Every club, sport or group has their own special language and AcroYoga is no different. Here is a list of words you'll hear quite often. Familiarize yourself with them so you can better understand instruction and use them when it's appropriate.
FLYER-- A flyer is the person who is being lifted a being flown through the air.
BASE-- A base is the person on the bottom who does the lifting of the flyer with their feet and/or hands.
MID-- A mid is someone who flies and bases.
SPOTTER-- A spotter is just like a spotter for climbing. They are there to ensure safety for both the flyer and base. if the move tips or falls, they can get everyone through it or out of it safely. Spotters are so important because they are necessary for trying skills that are outside of our current skillset and pushing limits.
DOWN-- When anyone needs to come out of a move for whatever reason be it safety or comfort, they will say down which means come to the ground as quickly and as safely as possible. This is where a spotter can be instrumental. We like to say DOWN 3 times in quick succession so that it is heard by everyone around.
FLOW-- To flow means to transition from one move to another with touching the ground.
WASHING MACHINE-- As mentioned above, a washing machine is a series of moves that end on the move they began with in order to keep going repeatedly for as long as desired. You''l hear me say their names like trap door, ninja star and pickpocket. You'll know what these are soon enough.
COUNTER BALANCE- A counter-balance is a move that relies on the flyer and base to lean in opposite directions countering each others weight to go further, higher or deeper into the move.
PLAY-- Play is a word we all know, but rarely use as adults. AcroYoga is so much fun. Many of us have done the first move in acro with our parents as a child. We call it bird, but it is widely known as airplane which is where a base lies on their back with there legs up (this is called L-base) and the flyer balances with their hips on top of the bases feet. So there's much fun to be had and play to an Acroyogi means to partner up and flow. Don't be alarmed when someone asks you to play. If you want to, say yes.
CLASS-- A class is an organized session where the learning of new knowledge, new skills and the refinement of old ones takes place under the supervision of certified instructors.
JAM- A jam is an all levels free-for-all without the structure of a class with an organized lesson plan. It is a great place to be exposed to the possibilities that await a higher skill level, build your personal circle and stay involved with the acro community.
MOVES, POSES & POSITIONS- These are much better learned while doing and there are so many. I'll touch on a few that belong you'll hear quite often and can be a bit confusing. You'll hear people saying Hand to Hand, Foot to Shin or Foot to Hand. These are moves that refer to where the connection will be held solely. The first is for the flyer and the second is for the base. So Foot to Hand means that the flyer will stand in the bases hand. I know that sounds impossible now, but just trust the process.
Safety - PLEASE READ BEFORE PLAYING
This is "acrobatic" yoga meaning there is some physical danger involved in this craft. First, NEVER do anything you haven't successfully done without a spotter. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in a move or position say DOWN immediately. If you feel unsafe around anyone PLEASE report it to me, the facilitator or another instructor. AcroYoga is meant to be a safe place where we can express ourselves freely and push our limits together and grow physically, mentally and spiritually, but we are not perfect beings and there tend to be people with ill-intent who slip inside our circle. There is no derogatory, hate or negative speech. This is an all-inclusive space where we honor each other and where we are on our personal journey through AcroYoga and even life.
If it ain't a FUCK YA, it's a FUCK NO!. We have grown up on a system of it's better to ask for forgiveness than it is permission and that is not the culture I want to bring to AcroYoga. This is a consent driven activity. It can be a bit sensual and sexual in nature, but just because you played together doesn't mean they have a greed to break the touch barrier outside of Acro. This also goes for pictures and videos. Only photograph or video those who have expressed their consent to be filmed and just because you . filmed them yesterday doesn't mean the want to be filmed today unless they say so. Ask permission, be respectful of other's boundaries and if it ain't a FUCK YA, it's a FUCK NO!
If this is your first time and you're unsure if you want to take the dive into this lifestyle, then I recommend you to attend a jam first. A jam will show you the broad possibilities of what can be done in acro and it's a much more laid back environment. You can sit out and watch until you're ready or not. You're still welcome to come and hang with us. Maybe you can take pictures for us because most acroyogis love their picture taken. This is a spectators sport as well.
A lot of what keeps people from joining our community and enjoying themselves is accessibility. Maybe they don't have good transportation, or can't afford a class or have a physical disability that they believe will limit their involvement. Well, I am a disabled veteran. I hurt my back, neck and feet in the service and was unable to lift weights like I used to. Because most of basing is done from the L-base position, I can rest my neck and back safely while I play. I have also been trained on how to make AcroYoga accessible regarding broken or missing limbs and even the loss of some of the senses like sight and hearing. If you feel that you are in this space, please come talk to me and let's figure out how we can get you playing around.
I have been doing AcroYoga since February 2017. I have a background in sports and some martial arts which all contribute to my ability to self spot most moves, react in spicy situations and master skills with minimal instruction. I still use a spotter for new moves and even familiar ones if I or the flyer feels that they need it. Spotters aren't just for beginners. My AcroYoga certification was awarded to me by my instructor, Danya Xena of the Superhero Circus Academy and my certified teacher page can be found at https://bit.ly/MilsAcroCert. My training specialized in social justice, inclusivity and accessibility regarding AcroYoga. If you hve anymore questions or want to get started, use the contact me form at the bottom of every page or hit me up on social media. Those links are also at the bottom of every page. See you around soon, I hope. Live well and love hard!