We’ve all seen those cute viral videos on Facebook of couples balancing each other’s body weight whilst doing crazy aerial yogic poses without managing to fall on their butts.
This is usually followed by a swarm of comments reading ‘#goals’. So, we at B-Change, on our quest to try something new every week, decided to give it a go and were pleasantly surprised.
Where: Mantra Fitness Club, Business Bay
When: Timings can be found here. Duration: 3 hours
How much: AED 50 with proceeds to charity
AcroYoga is a physical practice which combines yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage, offered at multiple spots in Dubai.
There’s even a facebook community called AcroYoga Dubai that holds sessions for all ages and levels across various parks or fitness clubs. We booked the Friday morning session to be held at Mantra Fitness Club, Business Bay at 10:30 AM.
We arrived on time, well-equipped with our yoga pants and mats. Around 15 people showed up and the hall was spacious enough to accommodate us all.
If you’re planning to jump in headfirst, here are some AcroYoga tips:
- Do not wear lots of moisturizer right before the session as it increases chances of slipping
- Have clean feet since they will be touching another person
- Always keep your wrists aligned with your shoulders and your hips aligned with your feet
- Go with an open mind and experience something new!
A Hippie Start
It started a bit like a therapy session – don’t be put off by this.
We were asked to sit in a circle and introduce ourselves. The prerequisite to the session was to wear a smile on your face at all times. This ‘circle ceremony’ is supposed to promote communication and openness.
We started with a gentle, easy and quick warm up session along with breathing exercises that lasted about half an hour, in order to get the muscles ready for more strenuous exercise.
Afterwards, our instructor chose a seasoned candidate to demonstrate how to do a handstand, while others watched in awe.
Here’s how it works: One partner (called the base) supports the other (the flyer) in a series of aerial postures. The pair is supported by a third person (called the spotter) who makes sure everyone has good alignment so the flyer doesn’t fall.
A classic sequence for beginners followed, starting with poses like the Base Test, which teaches the base to stay steady when the flyer lifts off, moving onto the Front Plank which teaches balance, laying the foundation for more advanced poses.
And finally the Front Bird pose which hones balance, teaching the flyer to feel comfortable letting go off the base’s hands. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try the Bow Pose which allows the flyer to play with a more advanced asana [pose] midair.
Though this series is safe and doable, let intuition and judgment be your guide. One important AcroYoga technique is called ‘stacking the bones’.
This involves the base partner keeping arms and legs straight to maximize the weight load on bones rather than muscles to support the flyer.
Experts suggest settling into each pose for three breaths.
Thai Massage as a Thank You?
We moved on to the next aspect of AcroYoga, which is [surprisingly] Thai massage. This provides a chance for the flyer to become the giver and repay the base for their work; however, the pair does switch places.
The practice of giving as well as receiving Thai massage can feel equally rewarding.
It took a lot of effort from us to not erupt into giggles at this point in time, won’t lie.
All in all: A positive experience
Towards the end of the session, we sat in a closer circle and held hands, inhaled deep breaths thrice and exhaled with loud ringing ‘Om’ chants.
So you leave the room not only feeling like urban hippies, but because of the donation, with the joy of giving back to society.
AcroYoga is a great trust exercise where you and your partner learn to stabilize each other and lean on one another for support. It isn’t limited just to couples, but would serve as a fun activity for besties as well. So, grab a partner and go!
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