LAS VEGAS: ACRO YOGA IN SIN CITY
I don’t think I’m ready for Cirque du Soleil, but I gained a few pointers in my first ever Acro Yoga Class! I spent an afternoon at Barefoot Sanctuary when I went to Las Vegas in August! I was ready to get on the mat and experiment. My goal was to see what new things I could try with my body and since Las Vegas is the land of show business and amazing stunts, I thought I’d try to be an acrobat for a day!
There were about seven other people in the class, the instructor had us go around and introduce ourselves to each other, and then we began a quick warm up. I was nervous but ready to let go of all doubt for that hour! Acro Yoga is a mix between yoga and acrobatics. According to Acro Yoga International, “Acro Yoga instantly dissolves fears and invites practitioners to tap into new and infinite possibilities of communication, trust, and union.” It consists of three components: a base, flyer, and spotter. In the class, I got to test out all three. But first I started as a flyer, meaning I was the one in the air while my base partner lifted me up by his hands and feet. The base lies on the ground and lifts up the flyer to really get them in the air. The spotter ensures balance and helps catch or guide the flyer.
What I received from Acro Yoga that I don’t get from Bikram is the partner experience. You really have to learn to listen and trust your partner. In Bikram, I’m a solo machine just doing my thing! I’m so used to doing things on my own (with two feet on the ground I might add)! I never knew how much of a challenge it really is to LET GO and allow yourself to be a free form in the air. I got to “fly” a few times too! Some other poses I tried were the Plank Press, Front Plank, and Beginning Bow Pose.
TIPS FOR NEWCOMERS:
Let go of any preconceived notions you may have about a new yoga style. Don’t talk yourself out of doing it just because you might not be “flexible” or “strong” enough. I hear that excuse a lot. That’s like saying, I’m not into vegetables, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them. Live a little!
Know your limit. When I was acting as the base, I remember my partner was standing on my hands, but I started to feel a lot of pressure in my wrists so I had to speak up and tell them I needed to let go. One wrong slip and I could have injured myself a thousand miles from home, which would have been no fun! I had a Jennifer Lopez concert that night honey! I was also feeling a lot of pressure in my lower back from previous workouts plus a Hot Pilates class I had taken the day before, so I sat out on some stunts and just observed. Listen to your body at all times! Your body talks to you via aches, pains, and tenseness.
Pay attention to what the regulars are doing, and then visualize yourself doing it. I believe visualization is the key to accomplishment. I try to think of these exercises as a science, well more like physics. When you toss a volley ball in the air with your fingertips, it goes straight up. How high? That depends on the force you use. Or when you kick a soccer ball up with your knee, you’re letting it pop off your cap. So when I was doing Front Bird Pose, I kept my body straight and let my base push my hips high into the air. I felt like I levitated for a moment! But I also noticed how hard he pushed my hips so I just remained straight and kept my body stabilized. When I think of things in a scientific manner, it’s less scary for me to take risks. You have to “drive the car, don’t let the car drive you.”
At the end of the class, we sat in a circle and said one thing we enjoyed and what goal we had in mind for the future. I felt great comradery in the class and was glad I had an opportunity to put my ideas out into the universe! Barefoot Sanctuary is located at Whole Foods Market Town Square in Las Vegas, Nevada.