Teaching Acro Yoga, for the very first time!

Some yoga traditionalists believe there is no room for “modern” yoga activities, such as Aerial / Fly Yoga and Acro Yoga. I’m a little torn, because on the one hand all modern yoga is very shape-based, not just aerial / fly yoga or acre yoga. What is the shape of the pose? Why can’t I touch my toes? Why can’t my foot touch the back of my head. All that is shape-infused thought process. On the other hand, anything can be yoga. As someone said in response to whether one can practise yoga and workout in the gym at the same time:

Gym is yoga if you make it yoga. Yoga is gym if you make it gym.

First time basing!

With that in mind, I decided to end the year for my corporate classes with the “peak pose” being Acro Yoga’s Free Bird (I hope I got the name right!) pose. Let me make it clear: I am not an acro yoga teacher and I am not certified to be. However, I have “jammed” (I believe this is what the practice is called) a few times (yes, not that many times!) and I felt confident enough that the two classes I was going to introduce the pose to would be able to handle it, or at least apply mind and energy to the shape.

Still, I wanted to be sure that I prepared the class beforehand. I also wanted to do a flow class because, hey, I am a flow teacher. And I like flowing. Plus, one of the corporates has very cold central air conditioning!

So anyway, dismantling the poses, the base is basically in dandasana, while the flyer is either in salabasana or, if confident, in dhanurasana, or a variation of one or the other. In addition, a lot of core strength is required for both base and flyer. Feet awareness is necessary for the base as well. With that in mind, I put together a flow as follows:

  • Cat tilts 
  • Sun Salutes
  • Sagittal standing poses, such as Virabhadrasana 1, Parsvottanasana, Virabhadrasana 3 (for some balance, ankle strength, feet awareness etc)
  • Lots of utkatasana into tadasana for base preparation (since lifting up the flyer is a lot like leg presses)
  • Three rounds of dandasana flowing into paschimottanasana, into purvottanasana, into navasana
  • Several rounds of salabasana and dhanurasana, and single-leg variations of the latter
  • Finally into the “jam”

I really applaud both groups because both of them have been practising for just a year. Both classes have come such a long way, with many having such great improvement in stillness, body awareness, confidence… the list just goes on and on! These ladies should be proud! I know I am!
Later in the evening, I headed to the other corporate class I have over in Cyber Jaya and decided to do the same sequence as I did previously.

Happily, everyone was pretty game and the class went pretty well, with some minor adjustments to the sequence. Again, after having done about 45 minutes of flow work on the mat, we moved into the acro part of the class.

As with the previous class, I invited the practitioners to try to connect with their own energy, as well as the energy of their partners. Of course, there was also the invitation to tap into courage and trust. After all, that is what yoga is about, isn’t it?

I am so glad that the year ended with triumph for these two classes, and it heartens me that I will see them in two short weeks. It may be that I created a monster, because I am getting loads of requests for more acro work in class! I am considering maybe once a quarter… What do you think?