Constructive communication in acroyoga

Written 10/04/2020 byRolf Meier
For many people acroyoga is about having fun, play and share time with amazing people. But if the communication gets inert the acroyoga can quickly turn into frustration.
Communication is one of the primary components in acroyoga. Acroyoga teachers and practitioners often speak about good communication. But what is good communication in acroyoga? And how do you communicate constructively and with respect when you are doing acroyoga? Here follows some suggestions how to do this.

In general:

G1. Positive atmosphere

Take responsibility for your own communication to be respectful and positive towards those whom you are practising with, and also towards other persons who happen to be nearby. Your body language and the tonality of your voice often convey more to the communication than the words being said.

G2. Make your partner good and exhibit mutual respect

To start by thinking: ”What can I do to make it easier for you”, can be a good starting point for the communication. Display respect towards those you are working with. If a person says ”No” or asks for a spotter, meet that request.

G3. Room for learning

The learning proces is what happens in the head and body of a person, and not what comes out of the mouth of the one who is giving feedback. Focus on communicating what the receiver can profit from hearing, and give the receiver peace to proces it.

G4. Follow the same goal

The communication can often become frustrating if the persons involved follow different goals. Make sure that you have the same understanding of what is going to happen.

The base:

B1. Start with your own alignment

When a flyer is asymmetric it is often because the flyer compensates for a base out of alignment.

B2. Respect a ”no” and take responsibility for the safety

Comfort and trust is essential in acroyoga. Respect when a flyer expresses a wish for a spotter, and likewise ask for a spotter and take the necessary precautionary measures for the safety of both of you.

B3. Body communication

In many cases the communication can be supported by using body signals. A push in a hand is easier to comprehend than e.g. ”left” or ”right”. A push in both hands at the same time can be a comfortable way of saying: ”I’m going to start now”.

The flyer:

F1. Tell what you are doing

As the flyer you are in the most exposed position. The first person to take care of you is you. Inform your base before starting a new movement. Flyers can have too much trust in their base and risk stressing the base by being faster and more willing to take risks than the base is comfortable with.

F2. Take care of your base

As the flyer you are in the most vulnerable position, but you still have a responsibility of taking care of your base when you fall. Take responsibility and ask for a spotter when it is needed, or postpone the exercise until the circumstances allow a prudent execution.

F3. Communicate with the spotter

Make sure that the spotter can follow what is going to happen, to be capable of interfering with the necessary spotting when the unforeseen happens.

The spotter:

S1. Be ready for what is going to happen

Be sure that everybody agrees on what is going to happen, where you as the spotter are going to be and how you are expected to interfere.
Falls and accidents happen suddenly. Stay focused and stand close to your flyer and base with your hands ready.

S2. Give space for the base and flyer to communicate

In many cases it is more efficient to let the base and flyer communicate without meddling from spotters. Be considerate about when and how you take part in their communication. It can be a good idea to start with a question like: ”Do you want to hear what I am seeing?”.

S3. Touch when it is necessary

As long as a spotter is in physical contact with the flyer, neither the base or the flyer can feel where the balance is. Good spotting is to touch when it is necessary. If a flow has to continue after an interference it is important that the spotter brings the base and the flyer back in balance, and thereafter informs the base when the spotter has let go of the flyer. Acroyoga is about what you are doing here and now. Be present and have fun 🙂 Enjoy 🙂