Imagine you and a friend found a way to let go into the moment and literally fly. Would you show people how?
That’s what AcroYoga creators Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer have been doing for almost ten years.
Founded in 2003, AcroYoga is now a thriving yogic path that powerfully evokes the childhood joy of play while enhancing yogic and acrobatic qualities of strength, balance, focus and alignment. AcroYoga also contains therapeutic elements and uses Thai massage poses and principles to relax and detoxify muscles.
As partners work to balance each other on their hands, feet and bodies, their perceptions and limitations are transformed. And while they’re balancing, communicating and connecting on different levels, students find new heights of strength and trust. Groups of three students, alternating as base, flier and spotter, provide support to each other in learning to experience the indescribable “sweet spot” - the perfect balance of rest and effort in a pose.
Yuki Tsuji-Hoening is a Level Two AcroYogi out of Boulder who’s helping mentor and support the movement in Colorado. She says, “People keep coming back to AcroYoga classes because there’s just nothing else like it, a non-competitive atmosphere filled with challenge, failure, triumph and compassionate, fun-loving people.”
Spreading the love of this practice and building strong Acro communities is what Tsuji-Hoening and her colleagues love to do. Acro trained teachers are expert at making the poses safely available to anyone, at any stage of yoga. With a spirit of play and compassionate community, they have the tools to create physically and emotionally safe practice environments.
Acro certainly engages yoga students in new ways. Tsuji-Hoening emphasizes “the necessity of eye-contact and physical communication that forces partners into uniting and co-operating as one.” She added that “balance, trust and confidence are challenged. Softness, compassion and loving kindness are magnified.”
Over the past nine years, Nemer and Sauer-Klein have devoted themselves to mentoring instructors and nurturing the discipline into a powerhouse of safe athleticism. The fun and welcoming spirit of students and teachers makes guiding new students though the initial hurdles of balance and trust easier than one might think. And despite any appearances to the contrary, AcroYoga classes can be approached and enjoyed by almost anyone.
All that’s needed to start is a willingness to try something new. While the grounding and balance achieved in basic yoga practice is definitely helpful to anyone considering acro, it isn’t essential. However, as a support to continued AcroYoga practice, the grounding and conditioning attained through asana and vinyasa practices is recommended.
Though not for everyone, AcroYoga is a breakthrough combination of healing and strengthening activities with a high feel-good factor and a bright future. Supporting others and being supported in play produces a yoga experience that allows opening, growth and proficiency to unfold.
LOCAL ACRO CLASSES
Slacro with Jeremy - yoga and slacklining conditioning/warm-up at 7 p.m. Thursdays, acrobatic instruction 8-9 p.m., one hour jam 9-10 p.m., CityRock Climbing Center, 21 N. Nevada Ave., free members/$10; 719-634-9099.
Acrobatic Yoga with Natalie - 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Phoenix Yoga Lounge, 124 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, by donation; 719-648-5737.
Ethan Engel is the associate editor of Marmapoints.