If you want a full-body workout, be creative, and do something fun with your partner, best friend, or kids, you should give Acro Yoga a try.
What is Acro Yoga?
Acro Yoga was founded by Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein in 2003.
“AcroYoga is a practice that helps people move, connect and play.” – Jason Nemer
It is a form of physical exercise that combines Acrobatics, Yoga Poses, and often includes some healing or therapeutical elements like Thai massage. It is a great and fun way to improve, strength, flexibility, and balance. As well as improving trust in yourself and your partner.
- What is Acro Yoga?
- The 7 Core principles of Acro Yoga
- The three Elements of Acro Yoga
- What do you need for Acro Yoga
- The Basics of Acro Yoga
- The Effects of Acro Yoga on the Body
- How to start with Acro Yoga
- Easy Couple Acro Yoga Poses
- Easy 3-person AcroYoga Poses
- Final Thoughts on Acro Yoga
The 7 Core principles of Acro Yoga
In AcroYoga practice it is important to take care of each other physically and emotionally, through kind communication. It is also strongly advised to start off your journey with a spotter.
AcroYoga is all about being playful and having fun.
You need to be present in what you do in order to be most successful at it, this is also true for AcroYoga.
We need trust to gain confidence and reduce fear. Trusting yourself and your partner is a must in AcroYoga.
Courage is necessary for practicing AcroYoga. Not just to master advanced balancing poses perfectly, but also to say “no” when we are not ready for a pose.
AcroYoga is for everyone. And this is the beauty of it. AcroYoga has a worldwide community. Whoever you are, wherever you come from, AcroYoga invites you to join in on the fun.
It is always important to listen, and understand our partners’ needs and boundaries and to also respect them.
The three Elements of Acro Yoga
Acro Yoga can be broken down into three elements:
As you can imagine, solar (sun) is associated with heat. With power and strength. Thus this part of Acro Yoga is the dynamic part. Strength building, inversions, and partner acrobatics.
The lunar (moon) practice on the other hand should focus on relaxing, rejuvenating, and letting go completely. Therefore it includes Thai massage and therapeutic flying, where the ‘flyer’ can passively relax and the ‘base’ supports you.
The asanas of Yoga together with the flow of breath are an important part of Acro Yoga.
What do you need for Acro Yoga
- A Yoga Mat
- A Partner
- It is advised to begin your Acro Yoga journey with a third person called the spotter, who will support and help you and your partner to get in and out of the poses safely.
- A good yoga outfit that sits tight and doesn’t hinder you in your poses and movements.
- Trust, in you and your partner.
The Basics of Acro Yoga
Now we are ready to lift each other up. There are three primary roles in Acro yoga:
The one that balances or flies on top of the Base
The Person that lifts or supports the Flyer
A person that can support and help both the base and the flyer to get into certain poses or out of the poses safely.
When you are having a fun Acro Yoga session with your best friends, changing the roles of the flyer, the base, and the spotter is not only more fun but will help each one enjoy the effects of each role, like for example leg strength for the base and core strength for the flyer.
However, often enough, especially when a couple is doing Acro Yoga, the flyer is usually the woman (or the lighter partner) and the base the man (or stronger partner). If you do practice Acro Yoga long enough though, you will be surprised how much weight you can lift, even as a flyer.
The Effects of Acro Yoga on the Body
- Muscle Strength (for the base especially the legs and for the flyer especially the core)
How to start with Acro Yoga
As with every workout or exercise a thorough warm-up is needed, solo or partner warm-up, followed by the main practice, and then it is also important to cool down and give your body the time to rejuvenate.
- Start with some gentle neck- and shoulder rolls, loosen up your hips, and then go on with some sun salutations to get you nice and warm.
- Ideally, you can then do some gentle stretches like dancers pose etc.
- Just before you start, hold Plank pose for 30 seconds to get your core ready.
You can also add a Partner warm-up to start getting to know the unit you and your Partner will form together:
- Hand-to-hand push-ups: The base lies down on his back and the flyer stands over the base facing his/her head. The flyer then grabs the extended arms of the base, engages his core muscles, and does some inclined push-ups on the base’s hands.
- Trust falls: As it already says, to learn to trust your partner, he/she stands behind you, you close your eyes, engage your core and just let go of fear and let yourself fall to the back. Your partner will then catch your fall.
- As a beginner, start by practicing some entering poses and exiting poses.
- Play around with these poses, whilst having a spotter nearby, to get to know the new unit you and your partner are forming. It is important to get to know your partner, and how to balance and flow with them.
- Once you feel ready and confident you can start off with some easy poses. How to get into them and out of them safely.
- After you practiced all this and gain more and more confidence in yourself and your partner you can try to flow from one pose into the next with the flow of your breath.
- For the Cool Down, the base can help the flyer into some inversion poses and poses that improve flexibility. The flyer can just passively relax, be held, and completely let go in each pose.
- Couple Massage and Thai massage is also a great way to end an amazing Acro Yoga session.
Easy Couple Acro Yoga Poses
To start off your AcroYoga journey, you can try out some of these Beginner Acro Yoga Poses:
The Bird Pose is also an entering pose and a great way to get the feeling of balancing on top of your partner or vice versa, to balance your partner on top of you.
1. Base: Lie on your back with your heels 90 degrees over your hips. Flyer: Stand facing the base with your toes almost touching their bum.
2. Base: Bring your feet to the hipbones of the flyer, bending your knees a little. Flyer: Lean forward onto your base’s feet, keeping your body in one line from shoulders to heels engaging all your muscles.
3. Base: Whilst holding your partner’s hands with straight arms, straighten your legs and stack your feet directly over your hips. Flyer: Engage your core and allow the base to lift you off the ground.
4. Base: Keep your arms straight, and engage your shoulders. Flyer: Push into the hands of the base and keep your muscles engaged.
If both of you feel like you can balance the pose you can make this pose a bit more challenging by releasing the handgrip
This pose can also be an entering pose as well as a follow-up pose.
1. Base: Lie on your back Flyer: Stand facing the base with your feet on either side, of the base’s shoulders.
2. Base: Place your feet under the flyer’s bum and grab the flyer’s hand. Flyer: Sit down onto the bases feet and engage your core
3. Base: Lift your partner by straightening your legs, so that they are stacked 90 degrees above your hips. Flyer: Once you are lifted, try to balance, focus on a point before you and then try to let go of your partner’s hand to slowly lift yourself up into a seat.
4. Base: Once your partner lets go of your hands you can grab their feet to hold them at a 90-degree angle.
Chair Pose on Shins
This Pose is a bit more tricky to enter, so make sure to communicate with each other clearly and keep your spotter close.
1. Base: Bring your knees over your hips, keeping your legs about hip-width apart. Flyer: Place your one foot just under the bottom of your partner’s kneecap, then take your partner’s hand for support to press yourself up with straight arms to place your second foot onto your partner’s other shin and stand up.
2. Flyer: Breath in Mountain Pose for a moment. Then come into Chair Pose as you reach your arms forward and up.
High Flying Whale
In this beginner-friendly AcroYoga pose the flyer can benefit from a gentle heart opener.
1. Flyer: Start by standing at your partner’s head with your heels touching their shoulders. Base: Reach your feet up underneath your partner’s waist and hold onto your partner’s ankles.
2. Flyer: lean back, whilst engaging your core muscles. Base: Your feet “catch” your partner’s shoulder blades gently. Once you have the flyer’s weight on your feet, press them away from you and straighten your legs and arms.
Easy 3-person AcroYoga Poses
Lord of the Dance Pose
Balance together as a unit whilst forming a strong bond.
- Start with three friends standing in a triangle. Let the right hands touch each other at the center.
- Everyone lifts the left foot and bends the knee 90 degrees, the left hand then grabs the left ankle.
- Find balance together as a unit and breath together deeply.
3 Person Plank Pose
Fire up your core as a unit with this strong but beginner-friendly pose.
- One Yogi starts as a base in a strong plank position.
- The second Yogi does a plank pose on top of the base, while the third Yogi follows to do a plank on top of the second one.
- Both flyers should rest their feet upon the shoulder blades of the friend below them and their hands should grip the ankles of the person below gently.
Down Dog to L-Shape Group Pose
This group pose could be used as a playful way to prep you for your handstand training.
- One of you starts as a base in a downward dog position.
- The first “flyer” starts off in a tabletop position in front of the base, close to their head, facing away from them, then proceeds to lift the legs up so that the top part of the feet rests on the base’s bum.
- The second “flyer” does the same as the first, however, he will have to balance more as he will end off in a full L-shape pose. Making it a great practice for handstand prep.
Down Dog Pyramid
The Down Dog Pyramid Pose is a strong AcroYoga bond that is formed by two bases and one flyer.
- The two bases start by doing downward-facing dog, facing each other, with their fingertips touching and forming the letter ‘M’ with their bodies.
- The flyer enters the top down-dog pose by putting her/his palms on the upper backside of one of the bases. The feet of the flyer are placed gently on the lower back of the other base.
Final Thoughts on Acro Yoga
I like to end this article on Acro Yoga with the words of Jason Nemer: Acro Yoga “is so much deeper than what we do in gymnastics because we’re actually touching someone’s soul… You’re touching their heart.” – Jason Nemer
With that said, I hope you are looking forward to trying this beautiful partner Yoga Style soon.
What is the point of Acro Yoga?
Acro Yoga is not just a fun way to work out, it also helps you to improve your trust, confidence, and balance as well as teaching your body awareness.
Who can practice Acro Yoga?
Acro Yoga just like normal Yoga can be adapted to your age and or fitness level. So you can start as a beginner Yogi as well.