by guest author Stacey Elmes
AcroYoga is a unique practice that combines the spiritual wisdom of Yoga, the dynamic and playful energy of Acrobatics and the loving kindness of Thai massage.
Originating in California in 2003, co-creators Jenny Saur-Klein and Jason Nemer met and combined their talents in yoga, gymnastics, circus, and bodywork. It was April 2008, during one of their international tours, that AcroYoga first came to Australasia.
Inspired by one of those first workshops, two Australian yoga teachers, Tanya Zappala and Stacey Elmes, applied and got accepted into the teacher training program in California 2008. As two of the only four Australians to be amongst the 120 certified AcroYoga teachers worldwide, the pair have toured Australia throughout 2010 and are making their way to Wellington, New Zealand in February 2011.
Whilst the flying poses of AcroYoga may look spectacular, the acrobatic flying is really just a tool to encourage the underlying themes to emerge. Ms Elmes says that the real essence of the practice is to form loving connection with others.
Through playfulness, we weave these deeper concepts throughout the teachings, and encourage students to share it with their wider community.
AcroYoga takes people to their edge. When they can step out of their comfort zone they find new ways of co-creating; communicating and trusting each other. Most students find a strength they never knew they had!
An AcroYoga workshop begins by building communal trust with an opening circle and group yoga, before warming up the body with yoga postures, partner poses, strength and acrobatic drills. Then the unique partner flying flows are explored- both therapeutic (where the “flyer” gets to completely relax and be moved into massage and yoga positions) and the acrobatic flows (where both the “base” and “flyer” work in unison to create dynamic poses). The workshops conclude with the exchange of metta (loving kindness) through the sharing of Thai massage.
The workshops cater for all levels of yoga experience, from the absolute beginner to the advanced. All ages and sizes are welcome, given that students are in optimum health. It’s not necessary to bring a partner- just an open heart and mind, and be ready to have some fun!
And check out this video to see an Acroyoga Workshop in action. Beautiful!