Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday, I'm in Love: Acro Yoga!

Gather round, friends. I have a confession . . .

The truth is: I'm a curmudgeon. Yup, it's true. For all the bright, bubbly blogging goodness shared here on, I still wrestle with plenty of your garden variety grumpiness on a daily basis. I simply choose not to subject you to it. (Do you really want to hear me whine about my parking tickets, personal relationship gaffes, recent bout of food poisoning, or the time last week when I nearly knocked myself unconscious on the Acela train after head-butting the overhead luggage bin? I'm thinking: probably not.). The goal of is to provide an online atmosphere filled with yoga and wellness inspiration and information. With that said, I take issue with yogis who put on airs that life is always perfect, filled with rainbows and doves and the implication that if you do not feel this way, well, then, you must not be a yogi. I'm sure you take issue with this too, so if you ever feel like this site is a oui bit too saccharin, feel free to call me on it.

Yoga enhances our lives, but it doesn't make us superhuman. The most yogic thing any of us can do in a given moment, on or off our mats, is to be authentic . . . Which brings me back to my original point: authentically speaking, I can be a chilly, reclusive, cranky, pain in the ass sometimes.

I'd like to blame the above on my New Englander heritage or our chilly winter weather at present. (Of course I'm a recluse; it's 4 degrees outside! Who wants to be social?), but that's no excuse. Just because the weather is frosty doesn't mean my attitude needs to follow suit.
Thankfully, I recently discovered a portal of yoga bliss that I want to share. It is Friday, I'm in Love after all, the semi-regular installment of people, places, or products that make me feel warm and fuzzy.

You heard right. This week's feature is an activity that managed to melt even my frigid New England soul. It's called Acro Yoga, a newly created blend of yoga and acrobatics, practiced with a partner, wherein students experience sensations of support, strength, and, yes, having the ability to fly.

Initially, I was skeptical of this style of practice, despite the fact that one of its most visible teachers is close personal friend Bonnie Argo (pictured above with fellow teacher Kadri Kurgun). Part of me is a recluse, remember? Therefore, I felt wary of sharing my yoga practice with someone else. Next, from what I had seen and heard, Acro seemed a bit too warm and fuzzy for me, a little too close for comfort, with all that hand-holding and possible sweat-dripping on each other. Finally, as an admitted yoga purist, I wondered if this yoga hybrid contained enough yoga for my taste.

Then, this cranky curmudgeon became a convert . . .

Class began and ended with some simple Vinyasa sequences to warm up and cool down, while the bulk of the class was comprised of movements ranging in difficulty and performed by two or more people. Disclaimer: my positive experience was definitely influenced by the fact that I was paired with my friend and former professional soccer playing goddess, Kate, of Lululemon (read: one strong chic who oozes inspiration). Together, we explored moves like the one above, despite both feeling at times scared, stretched, and skeptical. Yet, with gentle prodding and plenty of spotting by Bonnie and her team of Acro aces, we both experienced the joy of trying something new, exceeding expectations of ourselves and others, and discovering holy moly, we're pretty strong!

After class, I practically skipped home, down the icy sidewalks of Boylston Street, into another prematurely dark and frigid New England night, feeling warm and fuzzy all over. It seems that just as Boston was experiencing a cold snap, I snapped right out of my frosty ways.


Anonymous said...

Om Gal Thanks for Keepin' It they say. And thanks for putting that spark back in our day in an unsaccharine way. I do agree that some yoga teachers pour on the sweets too much and after a while it comes acrosss, as uh well fake shall we say(?), and slightly robotic. Not you Sister!!! Acro-yoga looks like a cool hybrid! And maybe it'll keep you from bumping your head on the Acela next time! Peace Out!

Eco Yogini said...

yep, I have a friedn who is certified Acro Yogini, and it is FUN. however, as someone who is not into being that touchy with strangers or people I don't necessarily trust, I am not a fan... I think it takes a certain instructor and partner to pull it off :)

that said, with my friend it is a blast!

Nicole said...

Love this post Rebecca, one of my favorites!

I've had Acro on my radar for about a year, but (as I grimace in annoyance) it hasn't fit in with my schedule just yet. Hoping to change that within the next week or two, so I could learn from Bonnie and fly with the rest of you!

Happy Friday :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Om Gal,

I love your post, especially the first half. Thank you.
One question that has been weighing on my mind for some time, and you perfectly touched upon, is whether it is wrong to perceive yoga teachers as people who should practice their yoga off their mat? Yes, yes I know yoga teachers are human (albeit very stretchy) and can make bad choices, be grumpy, make mistakes, etc…but how do you handle teachers who don’t live the lessons they teach/preach on the mat? This has been something I struggle with and have even switched studios over. I work in a very stressful and sometimes aggressive business and I go to my mat for release, to settle, focus and balance. My practice has been essential to not being a “bad guy”. Both on and off my mat, yoga has helped to make me a better daughter, sister, friend, partner and overall person. But, I get tripped up when I see teachers speaking negatively and catty about other teachers/studios, being mean and dishonest people and generally being jerks… Is this something you see often, should I look at a pissy yoga teacher as a lesson or am I just catching these teachers on bad days (or years)?

Thanks for the vent. Have a wonderful weekend.

reneekatie said...

THis is just what I needed today! I was feeling a little "chilly" too. I think I'll go warm up with a yoga class. And maybe try some acro-yoga with my husband! Who knows we may just warm up to it:)

Kristina said...

Jack reminded me yesterday to read this post a little closer, and I'm glad I did. It makes me think of the yogis I encountered living in CA vs. the yogis in New England. I moved back from CA b/c northern CA lacked the angst of Boston (it's true; that's why I moved back), and I think that's reflected in a different yogic personality. Yoga as I experienced it there was rainbows and bliss; here, I love how it's more in touch with the Buddhist precept that life is suffering and we must confront that with mindfulness, the challenge of focused breathing, and, well, sweat.

Thanks for your honesty (you know I'm a grouch by nature) and the meditation on yoga's variations in personality today.

Om Gal said...

Thanks, everyone for the killer comments! Anon.- stay tuned for a dedicated post;-)