Acro Yoga How To I Beginners and Intermediate Levels
Raquel and Stu (founders of the boutique yoga studio in Auckland's Northwest suburb of Hobsonville, Kanuka Yoga) started their shared passion of partner yoga together in 2014 and finding Acro Yoga was a big influence on the studio doors opening up.
As much as we'd love to promote that Acro Yoga is simply a wonderful, fun and playful journey with others (which it most definitely is), it also takes a lot of patience and practice to find your balance as you flow; there will be falls, possibly some tears and frustrating moments, however with the right amount of love and kindness it can come together in a beautiful way.
Keep reading to see our 5 best tips to get started, a video of our 6 favourite warm-ups along with a beginner sequence to get you started...
What Is Acro Yoga?
It's a physical practice which combines yoga and acrobatics - don't let the word acrobatics put you off; like with all things, you can control what you try, and don't try; always start slow! Generally speaking:
One person is lying flat on their back with legs lifted - The Base
The other is lifted and moving around on the other person feet / hands - The Flyer
The third person is watching everything unfold, with arms out at the ready to catch / support any falls - The Spotter
Having a regular, personal yoga practice is not a pre-requisite to trying Acro Yoga, however it will help. Acro Yoga requires a fair amount of flexibility and strength depending on the moves you're trying; in saying that, if you are a beginner there is always somewhere to start and you can progress as you start feeling more confident.
When you become more comfortable with Acro Yoga moves, you can begin to draw on traditions of circus arts, cheerleading and dance acro.
5 Acro Yoga Tips for Beginners:
Warm Up Individually - like all activities, a gentle warm up (and warm down) will serve you well. Move the body, stretch, flow through a few sun salutations (yoga sequences) and start chatting with your Acro buddy on what you want to work on.
Clear Your Space / Find A Spotter - practising outside on the grass is usually best as you have plenty of space to move and flow. If you're indoors, clear your space - move any tables, couches, and watch out for sharp objects. Bonus points if you have a 3rd person to help spot you!
Warm Up With Your Partner - think of warm ups as the building blocks of all routines you do - the stronger your foundation is, the better your practice will be. Here are the warmups from the position Bird we always do: Front and Reverse Dips, Leg Presses, Swivels, Tilts and 3 Points of Contact. When you start learning basic moves, you can incorporate these into your warmups too; moves like straddle throne, seated throne and back whale.
Learn A New Move - take a look on Instagram or Youtube for some new inspiration; there is a huge amount of tutorials and fantastic content available to get you going on new tricks.
Be Kind To Yourselves - know when you've had enough; if you're both tired and not in the zone, that's when things can take a turn for the worst. Respect each others energy levels and check-in regularly.
6 Acro Yoga Warm-Up Moves:
Ready to move on?
If you're finding these warm-ups easy and want to move into a flow, then take a look at the Beginner Sequence below. The moves will take a little bit of practice, but in no time you'll be flowing between them like a pro. For the first couple years of practicing Acro Yoga, we would flow through this routine at the start of each Jam to get us into the zone:
Starting off in Bird
Moving to Throne
Then into Chair
From Chair, you slowly move into Whale, or Back Whale
Come back to Chair
Make your way into a Shin Stand
Back to bird and out!
Acro Yoga Beginners Sequence:
Ready to level up and try some more intermediate acro yoga movements?
Why not give some of these a try?
This video flows through:
Some calibrations to help cement these movements
As always, before getting stuck into your routine, start with the basics and warm up the body!
Finding these videos useful? Share a video of your Acro Yoga practice with us online and tag @kanukayoga - we'd love to see your progress and we'll be happy to give you a couple pointers if you need them.
Practice, flow and find some Acro buddies to link up with!