Acroyoga: what it is, positions and benefits

Acroyoga: what it is, positions and benefits

How acroyoga was born, a practice that combines the discipline of yoga with therapeutic thai massage and acrobatics


  • History and benefits of the discipline
  • Specific locations
  • Contraindications

History and benefits of the discipline

Acroyoga combines conscious breathing, acrobatic movement and yoga positions. In performing the various positions in pairs, a general harmony is created that affects all aspects of physical movement. The mind focuses on the execution and you are able to live the practice moment by moment. This discipline was born in the early 1900s, but it also has its origins in very old videos and films involving, for example, one of the great yoga gurus, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who plays with his son. The union of yoga with the therapeutic aspect of Thai massage and acrobatics is due to Benjamin Marantz in the 1980s. In Canada, the institution of acroyoga called AcroYoga Montreal was born and then in California AcroYoga® was registered and founded, which became a real brand. Currently the brand is no longer registered and over time the various schools have taken directions more oriented towards acrobatic work, while others have wanted to maintain a predominantly philosophical structure linked to the millenary discipline of yoga, continuing to insert mantras or songs or other yogic practices. During an acroyoga lesson, a purely "solar" part alternates, where acrobatics prevails, and a "lunar" part that involves mixing with Thai massage techniques to be performed both on the ground and in flight. Usually the roles change even if there are always some favored positions. In practice, one person acts as a "base" (from the ground he supports his partner or companion and leads him / her to assume the various Yoga positions in flight) and another acts as a "flyer" (flies). In the beginner sessions the role of the "spotter" is also foreseen, who assists in the various transitions to ensure their safety.

A magnificent aspect of this discipline lies in the socialization that is created within the group. The positions immediately allow an excellent harmony and you get to know each other also by experimenting with the body. Increases the sense of general well-being and confidence in oneself / and in others; in some positions one surrenders completely while in others one sustains in an important way. This also allows you to discover a strength that you may not have thought of possessing and, consequently, an important value in yourself. You become calm, relaxed and face life and every single action as if it were a typical transition of the transition from position to position. Acroyoga allows us to understand through practice that the body really has limits that can always be challenged with respect for oneself and that gradual work allows you to go deeper and improve in even unexpected ways.

Specific locations

Let's start with the foundations of flight and base, the moments in which the two roles are discovered and strengthened. The base has the back on the ground and long legs towards the ceiling with the feet slightly diverging in order to bring the knees outwards. The arms point towards the ceiling. Whoever flies places himself with his hips on the feet of whoever makes the base who has his knees bent. The hands and fingers cross and when the legs and arms of the base extend, the flyer also extends his arms and balances on the feet of the base. Eye contact is essential in this moment in which we know each other in the two roles and trust each other.

We continue with two typical positions: front bird and back bird. These are real "flights" that consolidate the trust between base and flyer. In front bird, the base has legs at 90 degrees, feet parallel to the pelvis of the flyer which remains with the chest forward, the gaze towards the horizon and the legs and buttocks active. In back bird the flyer has the abdomen towards the ceiling, the back arched, the arms at the sides while the head is turned towards the head of the base. Very beautiful from an aesthetic point of view, quite demanding from the point of view of mutual trust and resistance. Entering the position requires the flyer to give his back to the foot of the base: he hooks the ankles with his hands and lets himself be welcomed by the base which, having taken contact with the flyer's hips, extends the legs to 90 degrees. To get out, the flyer attaches itself to the ankles of the base which bends the knees and welcomes. Obviously, the greatest risk load lies in the cervical spine of the flyer, which has an exposed head and back and must know how to rely on and not stiffen.


It is very important to take into account your physical conditions and previous injuries in order not to run into positions that can cause annoyance or cause stress and nervousness. One should never fall into a spirit of competition with others, least of all with those who act as a base or flyer. The spirit must remain that of the game with enormous focus and attention, along with caring for the practice partner. There are no major contraindications but it would be better to remember that those who have problems with their wrists, shoulders, arms or chronic back pain conditions should avoid pushing the pedal beyond the possible limits. It therefore requires a lot of self-listening, a real achievement of centering with respect to oneself and to the physical conditions of the present moment.

Tag: Yoga

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