My intro to Acro Yoga began innocently enough. It was Burning Man 2011. I had been mesmerized at Center Camp by all the Bases and Fliers honing their craft for all to see. It was playful, it was fun, it was bendy, it was strength, it was melting into one another like a shot of espresso being poured into steamed milk, circulating the cup, until it became one delicious sip of heaven, together.
I had watched entertainment and sports in the past, and never really been affected like I was here, on that hot arid desert day. I was completely and utterly captivated and when Burning Man 2012 began to approach, my body and mind began to be pulled toward Center Camp, like it were a Neodymium magnet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodymium_magnet ) and I, a piece of scrap metal. I started talking to that piece of scrap metal so wanting to work up the courage to participate.
It arrived. It was the morning of Tutu Tuesday, and I donned my best tutu, replete with my military-looking utility belt and was off for the day. It didn’t take long to be in the same place, where I had stood in 2011. Mesmerized, once again. This time, though, my fixed gaze came with words, “I so want to fly.” You have heard this story before (http://koblogit.com/the-magical-mystical-burn/).
That day I did, and the thrill of it, eeked out of every pore in my body for months, until I went to my first actual class this week.
We slipped into the studio as kindergartners must on their first day of school, unsure of where to hang their jacket. We filled out the necessary paperwork and soon we were amongst new friends, uncertain of really what to expect. Unlike Yoga (in general), where each person need worry only of themselves and their own bodies, Acro Yoga immediately brings in a strong sense of community, each member wanting the other to achieve their goals, however humble such goals may be.
First in partners, then in threes, we were walked through the warm-up, the hellos, the laughs, and the core work, before ending up with a new partner and preparing for our first flight! My nerves were a mess. While I had done this before, there still was a whole lotta of unknown in this equation.
One of the instructors ended up as my first base and it was brilliant as he could coach me easily and quickly as I worked on distributing ALL of my weight through his feet and hands. Yes, I was in the air. My right side seemed much more heavy, as I attempted to compensate in any way that I could. In fact, at first, it felt like I was going to slide right off to the right, like a fried egg on Teflon, my core working hard to hold glue me to his feet. Eventually, with a little more coaching, I felt more at ease and was able to relax a bit, which really was the mission of the whole thing.
Then, it was my turn to be the base. This was when the real worry began to take hold. While I have always been pretty strong in my legs, my cycling as of late had proved to me that I wasn’t as strong as I felt I should be (that awful word, ‘should’). I laid on my back and put my feet up in the air to accept the flier. She positioned my feet on her abdomen, the ball of my foot just above her hip bones and parallel to each other. She leaned into my feet with all of her 130 pounds, while my knees cautiously and methodically bent in toward my chest. I felt her weight. My hands sweated in hers, as I scooped my legs under her and slowly began to straighten my legs.
She was in the air. I exhaled. She was balanced. She was flying. Such a profound sense of relief washed over my body, as I felt her weight melt into me, like soft butter on hot pancakes. We were one.
The day continued with various little escapades here and there, while we laughed, high-fived, shared until we all came together in a circle for a few finishing cool down stretches and Savasana. We laid down in a circle, complete, bodies touching, giving thanks to a wonderful afternoon of play.
That feeling of community is still strong within me. Somewhere along the road to civilization, we misplaced the play, the fun, the laughter amongst our tribe members. Somewhere we replaced relaxation, laughter and letting go with strength only. It was here, in this community, that I began to reclaim that critical ingredient which is necessary to be strong. Indeed, one does need to let go, in order to FLY.