Acro yoga is an ever evolving discipline that combines elements mainly from yoga and acrobatics but also massage and dance.
Example of Acro Yoga
Acro Yoga Positions
The flyer is the person who is on top doing all the strength and balance movements. In some types of acro yoga, it is also their job to reward the base by massaging them with their feet.
The base Is the person on the bottom who is responsible for keeping the flyer supported.
The spotters are usually not in most of the acro yoga videos online but in classes, it is their job to help guide or catch the flyer if they lose balance or to help guide them into landing more advanced positions.
Can anyone be a flyer or base?
Technically yes but....generally it is easier for the base if they are larger and stronger than the flyer. So most of the time if you are a larger person you will have to find a larger and stronger base which could be harder to find.
To be a flyer do I need to know yoga and be really strong?
Being experienced in yoga will make acro yoga easier and you will be able to progress faster but it is still possible to get started.
I have put together free playlists of all the arm and leg yoga balancing poses. Learning some of these poses will make beginning acro yoga much easier.
To be a base do i need have lots of muscles and be very strong?
While being very strong can help out being a base, being a base is more about technique than having lots of physical strength. Acro yoga practitioners refer to the technique as bone-stacking.
What if I'm new and don't know what I want to be? Or I don't have a training partner.
Most of the classes I have seen advertised welcome new people and will be able to help you get started. Additionally, most classes will pair you up with someone at the class if you don't have a partner. So basically if you don't have a fear of being touched by strangers it is easy to get started with acro yoga.
Acro Yoga Drama, the history and difference sects of Acro Yoga.
There is a group of Acro yoga practitioners in Montreal that states they were the first people to come up with the term acro yoga in 1999
Their style of Acro yoga is a little more influenced by dance and doesn't really focus on things like massage and the healing arts. They say Acro yoga is an ever evolving art and don't want to have a strict definition of what is and what is not acro yoga.
Their website is Acroyoga.com
Then there is another group of Acro yoga practitioners base in the U.S.A that defines acro yoga as a combination of yoga, acrobatics and the healing arts (mostly Thai massage).
But in 2006 the group from the U.S.A. Incorporated and trademarked the term Acro yoga. Acro yoga of Montreal went to court with them saying that they were the original people to come up the term Acro yoga. They tried to prove it by stating they own the domain acroyoga.com since 2005 but they lost the case. So now there is one group in the U.S.A who has the term AcroYoga trademarked.
The U.S based acro yoga groups website is Acroyoga.org
Why am I even including this drama in this guide?
If you are new to acroyoga and you have a few options of places that offer classes check them all out first to see which style of acro yoga you prefer.
The Montreal style of acro yoga is a slightly faster paced and is more influenced by dance moves and culture.
The U.S style is, in general, slower paced and focus on the Healing arts instead of dance.
Additionally, now that Acro yoga is growing in popularity more people are selling acro yoga products, classes, or retreats but they are not allowed to call what they are doing Acroyoga due to the trademark.
So if you are searching for acro yoga stuff online looking up other terms like acro or yogabatics will help you find what you are looking for.
I imagine one day both the styles with end up borrowing things from each other.
Examples of Acro Yoga and Dance Combined.
Enter the washing machine, Getting started with acro yoga
The easiest way to get started would be to find out if there are any acro classes in your area. In a class, they would able to evaluate your fitness level and set you up with a program that fits your level. On top of that, you will be able to meet other people to practice acro-yoga with and have the added safety from a number of spotters.
http://acromaps.com/ is a website trying to show all the places in the world that offer acro yoga classes and retreats.
But what if I don't have any classes near me?
First off it would be best to find some friends who are also interested in learning so you can also have a spotter to ensure your safety.
As of now (august 2014) the acro yoga community is small but growing quickly so there are not a ton of free content and detailed how-to videos available for beginners but there are some out there.
The youtube user yogabatics has put out a free 10 video getting started guide that should keep you busy for awhile, it covers most of the basic moves to get started with.
Another good free acro resource is the site http://acropedia.org/.
The site catalogs all of the different acro yoga movements from beginner to expert level. Most of the videos on the site just show the moves done at full speed but don't offer a detailed walkthrough on how to do them.
Youtube user Yogabatics free 10 part series introduction to acro yoga guide.
There are also some great dvds and books available to help you get started with Acro yoga.
After you have gotten some basic acro yoga skills down their are also a few places that offer retreats, immersions and certificate programs if you want to take you training to the next level.
Here are some videos showing the type of stuff to be expected at these events.
If you think anything else should be added to this guide or something is wrong please let me know in the comment section. I strive to have all the guides on this site to be as accurate and helpful as possible.
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