Crazy acrobatic moves are not just for the circus anymore. AcroYoga blends acrobatic technique with yogic sensibility and is having more than a moment on Instagram. Studios like Om Factory, Yoga Vida and Body & Pole are even offering classes devoted entirely to AcroYoga and mastering these balanced-focused poses.
According to Rebecca Weible, founder of Yo Yoga! in New York City, “AcroYoga is a great way to deepen your bond and relationship with a fellow yogi, a friend or significant other.” It’s also helps you build strength throughout your whole body, while challenging your balance and training you to use your breath. Working with a partner will also help you improve your flexibility and coordination — not to mention communication skills.
Every AcroYoga pose should have at least three people: A base, flyer and spotter. The base is at the bottom, while the flyer is on top. It’s the spotter’s job to guide the base and the flyer to safely mount and talk through the different movements. Before you get started, Weible recommends you communicate with your partner and move slowly. If something doesn’t feel quite right or is painful, say something. You’ll also need to let your partner know when you’ll be bringing more weight onto them, and when you’ll be dismounting.
Ready to tumble? Grab a partner (and an experienced spotter), and try out these five beginner-friendly AcroYoga poses.
5 AcroYoga Poses You Can Totally Do
1. Fish On a Rock
You and your partner can scratch (er, stretch) each other’s backs with this restorative pose. It’s a great hip and back stretch for the base and a chest opener for the flyer. “You can experiment with the flyer sitting on a blanket or pillow to elevate the hips,” Weible says. This allows the flyer’s lower back to rest against the base’s lower back, deepening the stretch for both partners.
2. Partner Forward Folds
If you and your running buddy are training for a race, this pose offers a deep stretch for the back and hamstrings. Weible says, “Stand back to back with you and your partner’s feet spread wider than hip-distance apart. Hook elbows with the base’s elbows underneath. The base’s back will stay straight as they start to lean forward, pulling the flyer with them.”
3. Stacked Planks
You’ll work your core while also challenging your balance and stability in this partner plank variation. To get into this pose, the base will come into a stable plank position and make sure that their shoulders are right over their wrists. The flyer will place their hands on the base’s ankles or lower calves. Ready for an even bigger challenge? The flyer can also tuck their toes onto the base’s shoulder blades.
4. Down Dog L-Shape
If you want to practice spotting for inversions, this downward dog is a great place to start with the trust of a partner. You’ll take your down dog to the next level while your partner works on a killer handstand modification. “The gentle pressure from the flyer’s feet will help lift the base’s hips up and back, lengthening their spine and giving them a great stretch in downward facing dog,” Weible says.
It’s time to fly! Similar to a plank pose on the ground, this supported version gives the flyer the chance to play around with balance in the air and engage their core. The base may need to keep a slight bend their knees to lift the flyer up and have their shoulders firmly on the mat. Flyers, don’t forget to keep eye contact with your partner the whole time!