Acroyoga is a movement practice that uses it’s technical material from acrobatics and gymnastics in the context of the spiritual goals of yoga, which can be summed up as reducing the distance between our selves and our inner world, other people and our world. This means that focus is on HOW we practice together (the process, valuing each other), more than on WHAT we practice (the result, valuing the techniques). We simply value taking care of each other, breathing and having fun higher than accomplishing certain things or participating in (mental) competitions about being the best or prettiest.
The concrete physical things we do can be divided into two categories, the acrobatic and the restorative/therapeutic. The acrobatic element is about expressing our strength and flexibility in all kinds of positions and flows, where everyone participates in the roles of Base, Flyer and Spotter. The restorative aspect is about healing and relaxing the body through Thai Yoga Massage techniques in the roles of Giver and Receiver.
Within and outside this broad framework, different teachers have different approaches that can include traditional yoga, handstand, impro/dance elements, song, gymnastics and other things… you name it.
Even though you will achieve impressive physical skills and get markedly stronger and more flexible through Acroyoga, it’s not really Acroyoga if you along the way don’t improve your communication, saying yes and no, get a better sense of physical touch, feel part of a warm and inclusive community and – maybe most important of all – learn to look both other people and yourself, including your fears and other emotions, more honestly and lovingly in the eyes.
That’s how I would describe Acroyoga.
By Peter Hunter