“AcroYoga is a practice that helps people move, connect and play.”– Jason Nemer
Acro yoga poses are a combination of yoga and acrobatics. It is a form of yoga that involves trust. It is challenging but also playful and fun. It helps you strengthen yourself with the use of gravity. It provides a therapeutic experience.
Acro Yoga is for everyone, you don’t need to be an acrobat or a yogi to perform this. Acro Yoga is mostly performed with a partner and it involves a lot of movement, control, balance and connection. There are three parts of Acro Yoga – base, flyer and spotter. The base is the person at the bottom who supports the flyer. The flyer is the person who is lifted. Trust is essential between them and acro yoga helps build this trust. The spotter looks after the complete action and makes sure that the flyer lands safely.
5 Easy Acro Yoga Poses to get you started. Let’s fly!
1. Plank on plank
This is one of the simplest acro yoga poses. First, the person at the base gets into plank position. The hands have to be directly below the shoulders. The back has to be slightly arched and fingertips have to be pressed into the floor. The feet have to be apart at hip-width and the core has to be tight.
Once the base is secure, the flyer, that is the person on top holds on to the ankles of the base. He needs to lift himself off the ground and place his feet over the shoulders of the base. So, the flyer’s feet lock on the base’s shoulders. Keep the arms straight and the hips in line.
If the base feels discomfort, then rest for a minute and start again. If the base has wrist problems, he can also plank on his fore-arms. If the flyer is tall, then maybe his shins will rest on the base’s shoulder and that is fine too.
Once you master this move, you can take it up a notch and do some push-ups. First the flyer and then the base.
While alighting, be careful not to hurt the base. Take off your legs first, one-at-a-time, and then release the ankles.
2. Down Dog L Shape
The Down Dog L shape pose has two fundamental postures to it. Start with the base taking the downward-facing dog pose.
Spread your knees and hands on the mat and get down on all fours. Straighten your knees and feel the stretch in your spine. You are creating a triangle with your posture and the floor.
Once the base is in position, the flyer must stand a few inches away from the base’s hands. The flyer must bend forward and position their hands directly under their shoulders. By lifting one leg at a time, the flyer must gently place their feet on the base’s lower back. The flyer’s posture should look like an inverted ‘L.’
The Down Dog L shape pose allows the base to lengthen and stretch his spine. For the flyer, this helps in strengthening her arms.
3. Bird Pose
The bird pose makes the flyer feel like a soaring bird.
The base lies on the floor with his knees bent and hands to the side. The flyer stands facing the base near his legs. The base places his feet on the flyer’s hips with his heels facing inwards.
The flyer holds onto the shins of the base underneath the knees as the base lifts him up slowly. The base lifts his arms straight up and the flyer holds on to his hands.
The flyer’s legs have to be straight and parallel to the ground. The base has to make sure that his footing is strong and he is balanced.
Once the flyer is comfortable he can release the base’s hands and place them to his side. This completes the bird pose. Once the flyer is confident the base can also lower his arms to his side.
To get out of the pose, hold on to the flyer’s hands, bend the knees. The flyer places his feet on the ground and stands on the floor.
4. Flying Whale Pose
The flying Whale pose is an exceptional one to stretch the flyer’s thoracic spine. The base here provides the support and initiates the pose.
The base is lying on the mat, and the flyer stands away from him. She then spreads her legs on either side of his face. The base holds the flyer’s ankles and lifts his leg at 90 degrees from the ground.
The flyer must take the support of the base’s feet and lay her back on them. When the flyer is in position, the base gently lifts her ankles off the ground, allowing her to bend on her back.
The base must slowly bring the flyer’s feet on the ground to exit the pose and relax. The flying whale pose also acts as a shoulder opener for the flyer.
5. Folded leaf Pose
For this position, the base has to lie on the ground, with his knees bent and hands to the side. The flyer stands facing him.
The base places his feet on his hips, at hip-width, with his heels facing inwards. The flyer holds the shins of the base and bends herself downwards. This allows the base to hold the shoulders and bring them completely down. He then lifts the flyer off the ground.
Now the flyer has his head relaxed facing down. His feet are up in the air and apart. This allows the weight to shift from the hips to help the flyer relax. The hands of the flyer can touch the ground. The hands of the base are on the flyer’s back to support him.
While getting down, the base has to bend his knees, hold on to the shoulders of the flyer and help him place his feet back on the ground till he stands up straight again.
Some helpful tips!
- It is very important to stretch and warm-up with your partner before you start. Exercises that engage your core are essential.
- Acro yoga is all about trust and its positions include some form of intimacy. So practise this with a friend, sibling, partner or someone you can trust.
- In the beginning, choose someone who is close to your weight and height. This makes the process easier and safer for the base and the flyer.
- Make sure to dress comfortably. Avoid baggy clothes as they can come in the way. Avoid silky clothes as they affect your grip.
- Practice on a yoga mat and you can place some pillows around to feel safer. If a spotter is present, it just gives you more confidence and safety.
- Make sure that you and your partner are comfortable through the process. Switch places and try the poses.
- Know the technique well and figure out the sweet spot of balance while practising.
- Be patient and have fun!