I have been practicing Acroyoga (not Acro) for almost four years. I love it, and it is a regular part of my life. I am also an over thinker, so I think endlessly (and needlessly) about everything that I experience then relate that to everything else in my life. Needless to say, I have a lot of thoughts about acroyoga. As the practice becomes widespread, I have seen many articles and thoughts from other practitioners. This is my attempt in understanding the different approaches, needs, preferences and ideals that make up every acroyogi’s personal practice. In these articles I discuss a couple of my own thoughts that I wanted to share to the world so I can understand, teach and consider how acroyoga is and will continue to be a practice for everyone.
Is Acroyoga Yoga?
This was a thought that I have been working on ever since I went to my first acroyoga class. I went to my first class when I was on a phase of trying different types of yoga. And sometime during the class while I was falling from a cartwheel or attempting to jump up into star I thought: This isn’t the type of yoga I’m used to. This is my answer to the question of Acroyoga being Yoga. The definition of yoga is second only to love in the gazillion definitions category. Trying to see if Acroyoga fits into a certain definition of yoga almost always leads into a discussion of “what is yoga?” Bottom line is: it is not and will never be completely classifiable as most existing types of yoga. Whatever yoga you’re used to, Acroyoga is not that. Acroyoga is its own practice. It is a practice highly rooted in acrobatics, but done in a way that I can only describe as very similar to yoga, with benefits parallel to yoga’s. What is essential is that it is acrobatics practiced with the same element that differentiates yoga from plain stretching: mindfulness. The point of it being yoga or not is trivial. But the question is a persistent one, so maybe one day I’ll call it Bodybumbling just to avoid that argument discussion.
Are Acroyogis just fancy labeled acrobats?
High level acroyogis to me are very hard to find. Don’t get me wrong, there are many skilled acrobats out there, just not a lot of ones I would call acroyogis. There are a lot of acroyogis that are seemingly crossing over to pure acrobatics – which is fine, it’s a tough and exhilarating path to take- but I am just not one of them. It is the same in the sense that I practice yoga, but I have zero desire of becoming a contortionist. It is simple for me in the matter of yoga, because it has a lot of high level teachers who look like they could be contortionists but don’t teach like one. In Acroyoga, it’s a bit different. The trend has moved towards high level acrobatic tricks, with professional acrobats and performers as teachers. Progress seems to be the acroyogi moving away from the yogi. In some cases, the practitioners were never (and don’t want to be) yogis at all! Nothing wrong with that, I think every acroyogi has a wannabe-an-acrobat in them, but I make the distinction between someone practicing to be an acrobat and someone practicing as an acroyogi because I resonate more with the latter. I practice not to become an acrobat but to discover and receive all the benefits that a mindful acrobatics practice can offer(and because it’s so darn fun). In talking with another acroyoga practitioner in Chicago, I was chastised that the benefits of acroyoga beyond acrobatic benefits come naturally as you practice. He told me that they should not be forced, as it will take the fun out of it. That is true, but a good teacher should ensure that the practitioner is aware of the possibilities of the practice. That when they are playing, there are more avenues to explore and discover than just what is immediately obvious. Acroyoga is more than just acrobatics, and more than just yoga. Some acroyogis are already seeing this more, with the concepts of trust and fear often coming up when they express their ideas of acro. There is also creative expression, which I experienced masterfully with Jessie and Eugene of Acroyoga MTL. These are there, but there is so much more, and I hope to share and discover all of it as I continue my practice of Acroyoga. So there were a few things I have to say about my practice. Agree? Disagree? WTF? Comment on the thread to tell us about your practice and perspective!