In 2011 spending ten days at the YogaSlackers Teacher training playing all day, pushing limits and meeting inspiring people was incredible. Being present and connecting with others that also love Acro was the best feeling.
It was here the love with the life changing practice of acro began. Picture always having a partner, having more than enough time to advance and no distractions. Then reality hits, you return home. Suddenly you have no partner, no time, and the commitment is gone as you get further and further behind. By blasting through these hurdles I discovered that AcroDreams are made of knowledge, technique and training. Regardless of our individual differences and obstacles, there are ways to achieve your goals.
Returning home and immediately going back to working 60 hours a week was painful after the YogaSlackers experience. Then there was traveling, family obligations and socializing filling my schedule and draining my energy. Quickly Acro practice time was lost and getting further behind became reality.
What happened here was saying yes to too many things that didn’t match what I was working towards. My choices reflected there was no commitment to training Acro.
Things turned around once deciding to commit to practicing Acro regularly. I was determined to see this through no matter what got in the way. This called for difficult choices and not being able to do everything all the time. Like traveling with my friends for a quick weekend trip or taking on additional work. This isn’t the scarcity mindset I’m talking about. It’s the mindset of saying Yes to the things you really want to do and No to the things you don’t.
If Acro is something you love and want to do more of making the commitment, even if small to start with, is essential. Be stubborn in keeping the excitement you have so your commitment doesn’t fade away into the abyss every time you get distracted. Think of it as the start of building or strengthening a super solid foundation to your Acro practice that is unshakable.
To seal the commitment and hold yourself accountable start telling people about what you are doing. What does it look like to commit to a regular Acro practice and be confident it would happen?
Another small yet important detail revealed itself, no partner. Yes, I could prepare alone by getting stronger, doing yoga, practicing handstands. And did. Though how is someone supposed to do a partner practice without a partner?!? Acro Yoga is the Yoga of relationships after all.
Oh wait, there is more. The whole Miss Picky about who to actually work with. Not just anyone would do. Desiring to have a partner that is mindful, patient, supportive, friendly and into progressing was the dream. The mentality of rushing from one pose to the next and always chasing the next move, aka “the Acro party peeps,” was terrifying and quickly eliminated potential partners.
Eventually, I found not one but, two partners. We were a good fit for each other. And able to find a time that fits with our schedule to regularly train.
Knowing time was limited, putting in the work from the start to find a quality and dependable partner was a priority. Granted it took extra time but, was so worth it. The first step is determining an AcroGoal. Then deciding what’s most important in an Acro partnership. This served as a qualifier and way to get crystal clear quick. That way if it wasn’t a match it didn’t waste anybody’s time.
Lady Base Extraordinaire
Sarah Starnes became my first Acro partner. Sarah is an incredible Yoga teacher, acro partner and lady base. She was my Yoga teacher at the time and we connected at her class. It took us five months before we established a partnership.
We would meet every Tuesday at the Yoga studio and practiced Acro for 90 minutes before her class. Usually playing with things we learned at workshops or trainings. Or some video online we loved. There was a lot of joy in our partnership which, eventually lead into teaching together.
As life happens, schedules changed and we couldn’t continue practicing Acro. What a bummer.
Less than two years later and the search for a partner started again.
This time, a long partnership and dependability was a priority for a good fit. Also, a commitment to the practice, wanting to grow and having a strong connection.
Sunshine On A Cloudy Day
Francis and I first met at AcroCamp Midwest 2012, a skill share event where people from all over the Midwest in the United States get together for a fun filled weekend.
Initially, I sat back and watched him. He was always smiling. One of those smiles that lights up a room and fills you with warm fuzzy’s just seeing it. He was always full of excitement and passion for the practice. Super strong and like the energizer bunny just kept going and going and going.
After observing, we spent some time talking and really clicked. Also, we took the opportunity to team up for a class.
It got pretty rocky from there. Francis was spotting me, along with another friend I trusted, in a basic L basing whip through the legs. The momentum caused the base’s legs to pull backwards and pile drive me headfirst into the ground resulting in a concussion. Not being taught properly how to spot this, unexpected things happened that went bad quickly. The trust was gone between us within the first 48 hours of meeting along with a rough recovery ahead from the concussion.
After recovering, for months afterwards he was clueless of the secret crippling fear inside every time we’d work together at an Acro class. The fear was so powerful it came to the point of never wanting to do Acro with him again.
When I told him, he was sad. Actually, he cried.
However, he was quite persistent in not giving up and rebuilding the trust between us. It took eight months of nervously shaking in uncertainty on his feet. Discovering when we work with our partners patiently and kindly starting from square one it’s possible to rebuild the trust.
Now that Francis and I rebuilt the trust and committed as partners it was time to start a regular Acro practice. Finding time was difficult living over an hour away from one another and both working full time. With our only training availability being weekends it was important to keep it productive and fun.
Initially we sucked at training. Really sucked. After a long week of work all I felt like doing was laying on the couch when there was any free time. That meant no effort was put into planning for when we did actually train. Because of this nothing would happen or we would end up doing the same things over and over. Boring! It was a very unstructured and unproductive jam session with the two of us.
The next approach was pre-planning 1-3 specific things each of us wanted to play with. Drawing inspiration from teachings in classes, workshops, imagined, drew or saw in photos or videos. When it came time to practice there were specific things to do and they happened. This worked. It felt gratifying, fun and worthwhile. Getting clear as to exactly what we are working on brought more focus and accomplishment.
By 2014 all was going well in Acro and we were in a relationship. Then a huge life change hit. Francis, being from the Philippines, had a change in visa status and had to leave America by the end of the year. We chose to be together. That meant quitting full time jobs, discovering a new way of life and finding a home abroad. These plans overtook every aspect of life. It was the only thing thought about day and night.
But, we had committed to having a regular Acro practice and wanted to stand by that.
We knew we couldn’t do it alone and needed help. Thank goodness for long time Acro teachers and friends, Jason and Chelsey Magness. So began personal remote training with them.
It works like this. You have an initial call where you determine your goals. For example, for us it was being able to hold a low hand to hand with enough control and ease to be able to transition to other poses from it. Secondly, it was individual training that could be done anywhere anytime.
Next, they design an Acro program based on your goals. You get warm ups and a combination of specific Acro exercises such as long holds or reps. You fill out a log after each training session to track your progress. We are obsessed with analyzing every little thing and understanding it for ourselves so, you can imagine how insanely detailed our log was. The best part about the remote training is all you have to do is have the Google spreadsheet open, schedule it on your calendars, show up, do it to the best of your ability and write some notes. Every two weeks or so they would follow up checking in how it’s going and touch base with the goals.
Having the guidance of professional Acro teachers who are incredible at training kept us going with a practice we love. It made training time sacred. It worked with our crazy schedules. It calmed my brain that felt like my head would explode if having to plan one more thing. In the end, our practice improved, goals were met and the we learned the power of individual training when it comes to Acro.
In December 2014 we began adventuring around Southeast Asia. We are now business partners. Are engaged. And three years later our Acro practice is still going strong. Doing things we never thought possible. Not just the physical. Our ability to be more present, supportive, communicate more openly, continue to be curious, and love one another has also grown. There’s still struggle. We still miss practicing at times. Committing to an Acro practice is hard. Going back to why we love this practice and what works keeps us going.
Acro has changed our lives. We wholeheartedly love the practice. It’s given us strength emotionally and physically. It’s brought deeper, more meaningful connection in relationships. And it’s so much fun!
Will you be able to find a regular Acro partner overnight, grow skills at superhero speed and be able to do Acro everyday?
To be real, likely not. You will be able to find a partner that’s a good fit. You’ll be able to get the most out of your training time to gain a strong and accomplished practice. Allowing you to learn more and grow your practice. You will be able to establish a regular Acro practice. You’ll have a blast doing it, no matter how busy you are.