Anyone who has been to a regular yoga class at Dakini Movement Studio knows what to expect. Mats laid out in neat rows on the floor, everyone in their own space. Soft lighting, music. You start off by closing your eyes and breathing deeply, creating a mental private space to move through your yoga practice.
By contrast, walking into AcroYoga is like walking into a stadium; I see everyone sitting on the floor in a circle, lights on full, and mats piled three high in five groups on the floor... for a class of 15.
AcroYoga - Acrobatic Yoga - is a newer form of partner yoga that combines a fair amount of gymnastics with the idea of a yoga flow to create a slow-motion dance of balance and trust between the participants. As a not-very-flexible-but-getting-there person, I thought I would push myself out of my comfort zone and try it.
By the end of class, I was hooked, not because we did tricks, or flips, or anything crazy or modern. (I assure you, Cirque-du-Soleil will not be calling me anytime soon). No. The secret, the real reason why people love AcroYoga, is the connection you feel with your partners.
Think of it this way: you call a taxi, or a Lyft, or an Uber, and a stranger comes to pick you up in their car and take you where you want to go. In the 30 seconds it takes you to get into the car, you are essentially saying "I trust you not to kill me and/or yourself in a car crash." That is a baseline level of trust that develops when you place yourself in a vulnerable position with a stranger.
AcroYoga asks you to develop that same kind of trust on the mat. We introduced ourselves and got into groups of three: a flyer, a base, and a spotter. Ideally, all three people rotated to try each role... but after about 10 minutes, you pretty much knew where you liked to be.
Alexis, who I had taken dance classes with before, was an amazingly balanced flyer. Travis, who I had just met that day, was a quick spotter. I loved being the base, the support and the strength which makes the flow happen. You start by communicating with words, and then without words; through hand squeezes, facial expressions, and body language. By the end of the class, I could tell which direction Alexis wanted to land on, and whether or not she felt secure in a position. Travis could tell when we needed assistance by the way we locked or unlocked our limbs, and Alexis could tell when I was off balance and remained steady until I could find it.
At the end of class, we all hugged our respective partners, and could not believe that two hours had flown by so fast. Lex Peters, tall, soft spoken, and patient, had guided us from complete newbies to doing a basic handstand flow forwards and backwards. The only other skill I had picked up that quickly was how to brew an excellent cup of coffee.
So, if you find yourself near Dakini Movement Studio, and Lex Peters is the featured workshop that week, please drop by and take a class. Even if you have never tried yoga or dance before, even if you are not that flexible, you will find your place in our group.