AcroYoga: A Tool To Build Trust And Community
When I think about acroyoga, I get really excited. I think about how amazing my body feels after playing around with one–or many fliers. I flash back to all the smiles and beautiful people I’ve met at Divine Play, AcroGasm and other training workshops. My brain starts firing up with new ideas of how I can stack a body on my feet or hands. Or perhaps create some kind of balance with multiple people.
It happened to me, rather quick. That is, I got hooked on acro early after trying it a few times. I was hanging out at Drake park in Bend, Or. at a friend’s birthday party. There were people doing acro and slacklining, and I thought “Wow, this is great!” I knew I definitely wanted to try both, so I started by getting on the line. Now I had tried the 2″ Gibbon line once before, but this was the 1″ line, so very new to me.
Balance has intrigued me for years, so slacklining and acroyoga seemed like an excellent way to explore that interest. People moving around on each other so gracefully. I’m lucky to say I got to try both and I loved it! I was no where close to being as graceful as the others around me, but I got a lot of support and positive feedback. And that was the start of what has lead to many hours of training and many acro workshops, to expand and deepen my practice.
That initial support and encouragement, was a fine example of the community of people I was finding myself surrounded by. What I began to see as I practiced acro with different people, is the many layers of walls and distrust individuals have built up over years, slowly dissolve away. This type of genuine human connection that I was experiencing and seeing all around me was immensely heart warming. So many barriers surrounding touch and trust, being faced in a safe and playful environment. And soooo many smiles.
I think it’s important to value touch as healing, respect the support it can create, and appreciate the level of trust it takes to share. ~Buddy Thomas
Trust building is one result of acro training that I believe is very important. How are you building trust and in what ways? Well, in so many ways. I see that it starts with each individual looking inside and being willing to try something that might be out of their comfort range. That requires trusting yourself and your decisions, which does not come naturally for all people. Next it takes trusting the person your working with, believing they are there to help support you. Quite literally, if your a flyer on a base!. I have seen many times over the years, a new flyer or base start their acro practice very closed-off or timid. Then over the coarse of a few days or even a few hours that individual opens up and is willing to try things they never thought possible!
You see, the act of a practice which involves another person other than yourself, involves trust to some degree. It’s developing that trust in a healthy and safe way that is important. The acro community creates opportunities for different people to work with each other. As well as encourages people to communicate with compassion. It’s this compassion and willingness to communicate I believe, that stimulates people to open up and trust.
You Want Me To Do What?
Another trust expanding exercise is accepting that the instructor is knowledgeable and safe. I mean, some of the poses and positions the instructors are showing you and asking you to try with someone you may have never met, can get pretty wild. Being able to trust the teacher to get you in and out of these wild positions is key in having a good time. Some of the positions require touch in areas close to personal space. The ability to destroy the idea that touch has to equal sex, by instructing how touch can equal support and structure, is a powerful tool for establishing community. I think it’s important to value touch as healing, respect the support it can create, and appreciate the level of trust it takes to share.
Building trust with acro is fun, and safe, and can create connections and friendships that last. It is an excellent way to practice your communication, work with group dynamics, and be present. I love acro!