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AcroYoga is a partners movement discipline which combines yoga, acrobatics, and Thai massage. In addition to being an intense workout, AcroYoga incorporates the benefits of these three ancient disciplines. Practitioners claim that regular sessions enhance feelings of trust and deep connection with the people they work with, and that AcroYoga also builds stronger, more limber bodies and a sense of playfulness. The practice of AcroYoga is centered on the West Coast of the United States, where it originated, but it is slowly spreading, and you may be able to find a class in your area with a bit of searching.
The concept for AcroYoga arose in 2004, when Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein started to combine the trust and strength-building moves of acrobatics with the practice of yoga. When the two met Carolyn Cohen, a practitioner of Thai massage, AcroYoga was born. The group is based in San Francisco, but they travel all over the world offering classes and certification workshops.
A typical AcroYoga session starts with an opening circle, in which participants connect by moving and breathing together. Then, the group moves through a series of Asanas or yoga poses to warm up, before flowing into partner work. People can bring their own practice partners, or they can meet up with people at the AcroYoga session. Partner routines incorporate stretches which require two people, building a connection and trust before moving onto the next stage of the session, inversions.
Inversions are exactly what they sound like; poses in which a participant is upside down. In some cases, both partners are inverted, and in all instances participants support each other through these challenging poses. Inversions are meant to bring out a sense of playfulness, and also to encourage people to look at the world in a new way. After building trust with inversions, the session moves on to partner acrobatics, including flying, in which one partner remains on the ground as a base to support the other in an aerial position. Finally, the session ends with Thai massage, which is intended to stimulate the balance of energy while honoring the partnership which was built during the session.
This style of partner yoga can be very demanding, but classes are offered at all levels of difficulty. As a general rule, people are asked to have some familiarity and confidence with headstands, although this is not required. AcroYoga classes and retreats are held in all corners of the world, from Hawaii to Greece, for people who are interested in experiencing this discipline for themselves.
Actually acroyoga is from a group in Montreal by Jesse and Eugene. Jason and Jenny have trademarked the term, but are in no ways the inventors of the practice.