Acroyoga isn't just a physical exercise that combines yoga poses and acrobatics with a partner. As with yoga and many other physical exercises, there are as well other learning associated to it.
They may not be so crystal clear like the nice pictures doing a nice-looking throne or whale pose, but these skills may have even more impact in your real life and of course for yourself. Additionally, one of the acroyoga strength is that you will be practicing all these learnings with someone else and it probably someone very close to you, so that these will not only have an impact in yourself but as well in your relationship with this person.
Following learnings aren't sorted by importance. Depending on your own experience and partner relationship, some of them will have more impact in your daily life than others.
Confidence: in our daily life we are used to other persons, institutions, etc. From our partner to friends, work colleagues and even we may trust people that we almost don't know. It changes from culture, age, person, etc. but at the end there are a set of predefined rules. We are very used to trust people in two terms: time and money. For instance, for time we expect that our partner will come on time for the weddings anniversary dinner or that our friends will show up on time for the game on Sundays. For example, for money we refer to everything associated to it: we work for others because we expect to have at the end of the month our paycheck as agreed or we lend money to a good friend, because he/she promised us to give the money back as soon as possible.
Acroyoga learning: in class besides these types of confidence (of course teachers and students expected to start the classes on time and the agreed exchange of the economic class value) we learn another very important one: physical confidence. In our daily lives, we have rarely the opportunity to place all our physical integrity in the hands or better said in the feet of someone else. Both partner and flyer, learn how to trust in another dimension by giving part of their body integrity to the other.
Communication: we all had the experience of being the driver or the copilot through an unknown city and making a mess with the directions, ending up in a stressful situation and probably arriving some minutes later than expected to the destination. Who was guilty of it? We won't get into this discussion, what we will learn something here from acroyoga.
Acroyoga learning: during the training, communication flows at a different level than in real life. First of all, we put our self consciously in a stressful situation, we will be hanging upside down or strengthening our legs to the max of our power. Secondly, we will have different point of view, for flyer left hand will be base right hand or for the base go back could mean for the flyer to bend to the opposite direction. In acroyoga we learn to use the appropriate words but as well to use other tools (like touch or tricks) to cope with the situation and perform in the best possible way.
Empathy: it is the queen of abilities demanded nowadays, not only affects our jobs but as well our private relationships, from friends to almost unknown people that we encounter every day, empathy is playing its game. It depends on us to consciously develop the one that we already have.
Acroyoga learning: in every of our classes and everyone starting with acroyoga will change roles from time to time. We know that everyone loves to do what they can perform the best, and by trying other roles we can learn even more. By doing so we will see what our partner need to do so that we both can succeed. Even more, we will feel more connected to him/her because we will understand physically but as well mentally better. Changing point of views, it can be transported to real life. We are used to live in our "own world", without caring too much about others. By placing our self in other shoes we can share together "both worlds" and become just one reality, becoming a new way to see the world. Our recommendation for every training is to change at least once the roles of flyer and base. And for real life, make the effort once a day to understand the feelings of others.
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you” – Susan Sarandon
Stress management: often called the illness of the XXI century and prognosticated to be one of the major illness in the next years. We encounter it in many forms and different environments. One of the ways to face it comes from one of our favorite definitions of yoga: with every pose we consciously place our self in a stressful situation, in a headstand we are bringing both our body and mind to the limit and the regularly practice of yoga able us to control the pose slowing our breath to the proper rate and bringing our mind to the present moment.
Acroyoga learning: to previous definition add the difficulty of coping stress with someone else and working together to face it. We aren't anymore alone performing our bow pose, we are playing with someone else to rise and do bow some centimeters above the ground. Additionally to the benefits of yoga, with acroyoga we will bring to our real life and extra ability that is to cope stress in teams or always when others are involved. We will be able to respond consciously instead of react unconsciously. Coming back to real life examples, in an argument we won't shout our first, probably bad thoughts. Instead we will hold our first reaction, work on our stimulus and then use a thoughtfully and much better response.
“We will be able to respond consciously instead of react unconsciously"
Teamwork: of course this ability can not be missing in our list! A couple, a group of friends, a family... these all are types of teams and have different degrees of rules. We love this formula, that claims that without teamwork 1 + 1 = 2, but if we add to the equation this ability we become 1 + 1 = 3 or even more. Who played before on a sport team, like a soccer or basketball team, knows what are the outcomes of a good work together. But what can we learn from an acroyoga team?
Acroyoga learning: as a couple or friend we are usually not used to play as a team. In this case, acroyoga is a 100% team game, flyer and base need to work together in order to master all poses. There is no place for stars on this team, both bring to the mat their best version of themselves and when mistakes happen (and they will often happen, like falling, slipping...) it is a group mistake. For example if they flight went bad it isn't only because flyer hip was to low, but as well because the base was not placing probably the feet on the right place.
Of course, finally when success appears is because both parts of the team succeed and should be celebrated!
Goal orientation: how many times did we signed up for a fitness studio or similar and stopped going after a couple of weeks? how many times we were working so hard and blind on a goal that when we achieved it we realizes it wasn't what we were looking for?
Acroyoga learning: acroyoga is a path that is amazing if you have the chance to walk it together with someone you love and/or appreciate. F.i. someday you will wait and help your partner to gain flexibility, others you will be supported by other person to gain strength. The peer/partner pressure will make you continue practicing even in the worst conditions and more than if you would work alone on a goal. Because only if both members are going far with their level, the team will benefit from it and be successful.
But the most important aspect is that this skill will appear already after the first class or practice, or since you saw other partners doing incredibly poses on Instagram and you wanted it as well... You will create together with someone a strategy for achieving lot of different goals: poses with arms, enhancing thighs flexibility, working on turnings or jumpings, etc. You will as an individuals and as a team gain the patience and discipline to achieve whatever you desire!
Leave as your thought and opinions in the comments below! We would love to hear nice stories about your personal learning in acroyoga!