While executing the first pose of Wednesday’s Acro Yoga workshop, the Front Plank, I turned to my pose partners and asked, “did you guys do this when you were kids?”. This encapsulates my overall experience of acro yoga: hearty laughter, relaxation and childlike fun. The class was was run by Trinity’s Yoga Society and led by Yogi Gulia, who runs classes in YogaHub on Camden Place. Approximately 20 students were in attendance, ready to roll out their mats and get to a little acrobatic yoga.
After warming up, we began trying some of the aerial yoga poses associated with acro yoga. Before trying the aerial moves, the class was split up into groups of three: one base, one flyer, and one spotter. Bases lift the flyers into the air using leg and core strength, while the flyer must balance themselves.
Doing these yoga poses while suspended allows the flyer to bend deeper into the stretch. The awkwardness one might associate with lifting a stranger into the air, sometimes by their behind using your feet, made the class slightly hysterical. As we were all in the same boat, however, we had to quickly lose our inhibitions and get to the business of acro yoga. The inevitable camaraderie built into acro yoga is a great stress reliever. Grinning for an hour would put anyone in a good mood, and I would dare anyone to try not to laugh as you hoist a very tall man into the air to perform Front Bird while the two of you are staring at each other red-faced with exertion. Laughter naturally follows. We all looked hilarious. While flying I felt like some sort of bird/ballerina hybrid, however I likely looked more like a penguin. As a “Tall Girl” (a trope recently explored in an abominable Netflix movie of the same name), I have to take my opportunities to feel lithe and graceful where I can get them.
Although a large portion of the class were yoga novices, everyone successfully executed the first three poses. After performing Front Plank, we transitioned into Front Bird, a fun variation that involved lifting your arms out to the side and shouting, “Is it a bird, is it a plane?!”. The next move we attempted was called Chair Pose, or Utkatasana. Yoga practitioners may be familiar with this one. In acro yoga it is practiced while balancing on the shins of another person. The class was pretty shakey here, but everyone successfully managed to stand on the shins of someone else and not fall off. This pose got us particularly giddy, I feel, as the risk of falling imbued us with plenty of adrenaline.
Acro yoga is a great mixture of yoga, acrobatics and thai massage and I know I haven’t had my fill of it yet. The practice tones and strengthens body muscles, while simultaneously improving one’s flexibility. Isn’t that the trifecta of good health? It is also an incredible endorphin rush as it combines exercise, socialising and the mighty power of adrenaline. Acro yoga classes will be running in Yoga Hut under Giulia’s direction from October 9 until October 30.