Updated: Jun 19
We have met a broad spectrum of persons during our yoga and acroyoga classes, workshops, and retreats! And that is fantastic! It is one of our main motivators to continue with our yoga and acroyoga lifestyle! Everyone is different, not only from the point of view of personality, experience, background, etc. as well physically! All our bodies are different! But a common challenge we discovered with our students is: that beginners’ bases have usually the most challenging part at the beginning! At least till they achieve an idoneous physical performance to practice Acroyoga with ease and joy! If you want to improve as a base, this is your post!
We all start from Zero!
Our greatest challenge when we started with Acroyoga in 2017 was obvious: Sergio’s hamstrings! Despite that I had some strength and endurance in these muscles, they were short and not properly prepared for passive and active flexibility.
Before starting with Acroyoga, I went through different sports categories, and none of them was really helping me to have an Acroyoga body. As a teenager, I played soccer and basketball for amateur teams, but the type of training was not focused so much on warming up before and after practice. Even more due to the repetitive and explosive movements in these sports my muscles were even shorter. Later on, I was doing a lot of outdoor fitness and running, again without the add-on of flexibility training.
As a first conclusion, it does not matter where you are now in your journey as a base, even from zero and with the proper training and discipline, you can achieve to become an expert!
The key exercise!
We love to tell the story that our third date was on Barceloneta Beach, where Zlata tried to bring some Acroyoga to Sergio… but after almost three hours of hard training, we achieved barely a decent Front Plank! Why? My short hamstrings! My legs burned for a whole week!
Still, I have fallen in love two times: with the Acroyoga practice and of course with my biggest love, Zlata! So, I decided that if I wanted to be successful in both, I had to master my legs! After that day, I basically did the same exercise every day, till my legs could stay almost 90 degrees while in L-basing. It was basically to use the active stretching technique of L-basing with a wall.
The ‘how to’ (follow the picture down below):
Look for an empty wall at your home or wherever you want to train. You will need at least 1,5 meters empty space around it. Take out your shoes or clean your heels if you do not want to end up with a dirty wall (or you can use as well a door).
Make it comfortable: use a mat (if possible thick), if you have a rounded back, a cushion for your head is going to help you release tension.
The beginning: most probably you will start with your sit bones some centimetres away from the wall, do not worry! That is your journey! Stay there where you feel your hamstrings, but not so much that causes pain. Stretching is a thin line between feeling the muscle and pain!
Feet flexed! That way you will engage the leg's musculature.
You may have to bend your knees as well in the beginning, but that is perfectly fine!
Final goal: to have your sit bones as near as possible to the wall.
How long you should do it?
As long as your thighs feel already too tired! During the practice, you will feel that you can come closer to the wall, and play with your range of motion, so that way you can intensify the stretching, or relax a bit more!
From my experience, I did it on the first day about 5/10 minutes a day, one time in the morning and another before going to sleep. You will feel the difference in your muscles according to the time of the day! As I gained flexibility, I did for a period of two months, a stretching practice of about 20 to 30 minutes a day!
And I still use this stretching exercise! Depending on my routine, I may include some minutes in my Yin Yoga practice of this exercise!
Make it fun!
Many of us have started the journey into Acroyoga without a background in yoga, dancing or gymnastics… Stretching is one of the first "to-dos" in Acroyoga. But being quiet for a long period without moving a lot could be eternal! The idea of lying down for three to five minutes in the same position and then combining different poses for almost one hour, without doing anything else and even more feeling my muscles like stones, was desperate…
What did I do? I made it fun! Once I knew how to perform the previous key exercise (so that I could almost do it passively), I included some add-ons to make the stretching time flow and even sometimes longer as expected. As you see from the picture, one solution was to grab a book and read, and the other time was to check some videos on my phone… but without forgetting the stretching exercise! It was not easy, because I multitasked, but at least it was fun…
This exercise was the changing point in my Acroyoga journey! Since I had no background related to yoga, gymnastics, etc. other kind of stretching routines were to hard for the beginning. But once I surpass the threshold of completely beginner, I welcomed other more intense and complex exercises in my routines!
Remember to share your experience with us once you tried it! And let us know which of the above exercises was your favourite stretch as a base.
Leave us your thought and opinions in the comments below! Or share it with a friend that may be interested! We would love to hear nice stories about your personal learning in acroyoga!