5 Lessons and 1 Red Flag: What Acro Yoga Taught Me About Relationships
“Spread your legs” wasn’t something I ever thought I’d hear unless I were in a police pat down.
I looked down into the solemn face of my Argentinian acro yoga base and tried not to laugh lest I lose my core strength. Aside from his two rugby playing feet planted firmly on my hips, it was the only thing holding me in the air.
Was this too much for a second date, or did the cultural difference make it as acceptable as the choice English phrasing?
Acro yoga, a mix of yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage, turns ‘elation into empowerment’ according to international magazine Yoga Journal. Plus, it’s heaps of fun.
Things with Mr. Argentinian may of fizzled out as fast as his visa, but a whirlwind month of busting out excellent Instafamous impersonations at the beach left with me a newfound passion, restored faith in the power of swiping right, and the following five lessons to buoy both.
1. Trust - Acro Yoga is a practice of relaxing into trust. You learn to trust that your base is strong enough to support you and quick enough to catch you when you fall. You also learn to trust in your own ability to guide a sequence with fluid movement and smooth transitions. As trust between base and flyer develops, the practice grows alongside it.
2. Touch - The art of practicing poses with another person increases awareness of touch. As sequences build, you naturally adjust your touch to be firm enough to support a pose, yet gentle enough to allow for movement. You become sensitive to the amount of pressure needed to manage the delicate balance of holding on and letting go.
3. Communication - Clear communication from both halves of the team strengthens trust, refines touch, and confirms that you’re both heading in the same direction. You don’t want to handstand into a routine if your base doesn’t know he needs to catch your ankles. Trust me.
4. Play - If you try acro yoga, you’ll fall, get grass stains on your bum, accidentally kick each other in places you shouldn’t, and think you’re owning a pose until your home recording shows you otherwise. Loosen up and laugh at yourselves. It’s a lesson in enjoying the process.
5. Honesty - According to relationship expert Matthew Hussey, one of the top 9 questions to ask on a first date is “When was your last relationship?”. But if you don’t ask and they tell you anyway, you learn it’s ok to question why someone wants to partake in the one activity they used to do with their ex. Aside from the uncomfortable sensation of filling in someone else’s leggings, it may mean a pose is the only new thing they’re ready for.
Perhaps it wasn’t just immigration standing in the way of becoming the next acro power couple Hagar Tsabar and Elad Sadeh, but, just like dating, acro yoga asks you to get honest with yourself about what you want from the relationship – the task, the connection, or both?