Can Acro Yoga Help Build Trust?

We believe yoga has the power to heal and strengthen individuals and in turn, transform whole communities. We work hard to increase access to yoga because we see this transformation on a daily basis through our students. We are honored that one of our student’s, Julia Bardof, took the time to share a part of her story with us and reflected on the ways acro yoga has changed her life.

“To say yoga has changed my life is an understatement. Yoga, Acro Yoga, and Thai medicine are now intertwined parts of my being. They have all played an integral part of my healing process on so many levels. Yoga has physically helped my symptoms from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, while mentally and emotionally helping me find more balance and peace.

When reflecting on the ways Acro Yoga has transformed my life, trust is one of the first words that come to mind. Acro Yoga provides a space for me to trust myself to get out of my own head and allow movement to happen. To trust another human to suspend me in the air, to fully support another human-being them safely to the ground, trusting the spotter has your back, should something go awry.

The initial trusting of each other’s strengths is one thing, but trusting another human on a deeper level, that takes time to cultivate. To truly connect with another human in that moment to create a fluid movement together. To know that you are not alone. This is where Acro changes lives. To me, this practice goes much deeper than the physical. Unfortunate trauma in my earlier years, left me quite guarded, especially regarding physical touch and overall social anxiety. This practice just continues to help breakdown barriers.

None of these amazing things could happen without a group of loving, welcoming, individuals who’ve also gone through their struggles, who have experienced the medicine of physical touch and true connection.  Individuals who have chosen to open up and allow for change and healing to occur together. The Acro Yoga Richmond community sparks so much love, joy, and compassion. I feel blessed to be a part of it.”

Through acro yoga, we hope to provide a place for you to heal, trust, and support one another. Join us this Sunday, February 19 and Acro Yoga 101 with Kim Catley from 2-4:30 pm! If this practice is new to you, do not fear, all are welcome and we have this blog post for you to help answer any questions!

 

Photography: Kaiya Healing Arts

What is “Acro” Yoga Anyway?

What is “Acro” Yoga Anyway?

Written by PYR Ambassador, Kim Catley

Maybe you’ve seen photos of people doing some acrobatic yoga and you’re wondering, what’s this class all about? Or maybe you’ve seen it on the schedule, and have wanted to try it, but you’re nervous to make the leap. We get it! That’s why we’re tackling some common questions and misconceptions.

What, exactly, is Acroyoga?

It’s basically what it sounds like — a hybrid of acrobatics and yoga. Think dancer with your back on someone’s feet, or doing a headstand on someone in bridge.

Photo by: McAbbott Studios

Photo by: McAbbott Studios

There are, at minimum, three players in every acro pose. The base has the most contact with the ground. The flyer is typically in the air, elevated by the base. And the spotter is there to keep everyone safe and provide assistance when needed. Sometimes additional bases, flyers, and spotters come into play, such as when we’re doing pyramids (yep — just like cheerleaders).

Every class has two primary components: the high-flying acrobatics, and feel-good therapeutics. The acrobatics are the flashy tricks, but it’s important to balance the intensity and build trust with your partner through the more restorative side of the practice. We’ll always dedicate the last 30 minutes to partner therapeutics.

Do I need experience?

The class is called Acro 101 for a reason! Every class starts from scratch. You’ll go through a bunch of basic poses and dig into the elements that make it work for the base, flyer, and spotter.

Ultimately, the students dictate the pace of the class. If we need to spend more time to nail a pose, we’ll stay there. If everyone is picking it up quickly, there’s plenty to build up to. And if it’s a mix, there are always variations to play with. No one ever gets left behind and no one is ever bored.

Do I need a partner?

Nope! In fact, Acroyoga is actually a great way to meet new people. Nothing gets you comfortable with someone you just met quite like trusting them to lift you in the air. Even if you do bring a partner, you’ll probably end up working in a larger group at some point.

unspecified-1I’m too big to fly or not strong enough to base.

This is probably the most common fear people have, and it’s totally understandable. But here’s the thing. While strength definitely comes into play, if you’re working crazy hard, something probably needs adjusting.Bone stacking is a key concept in Acroyoga. Muscles get tired, but your bones stay strong. If your bones are lined up properly (we’ll cover this in class), and in alignment with your partner’s, you can shift the work out of your muscles. Then the size of your partner becomes less important.

Many of the beginner poses are a chance to try out being both base and flyer. Doing so can even help you better understand your partner’s perspective. As you continue to practice, you may find you’re more comfortable in one role — or you might continue to switch it up.

Photo by: McAbbott Studios

I just don’t think I can do it.

There’s no way to really know until you try. You’re welcome to observe part of a class if you’re still uncertain, but we promise, no one ever sits on the sidelines for long. And if you still have questions, feel free to send us an email or Facebook message.

Acro 101 is always the second Sunday of the month, from 2-4:30 p.m.

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