Every weekend, a group of yoga enthusiasts meets at Lodhi Garden and Shivalik Park in Delhi for a jam session. For the uninitiated, the early morning session is an impromptu yoga performance characterised by improvisation, blending the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the healing power of Thai massage. These elements form the foundation of AcroYoga and such jam sessions are a regular feature in Delhi and elsewhere in the country where yoga practitioners assemble to ‘connect, play and fly’.
AcroYoga was co-founded by Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer in 2003 and was created on the belief that yoga and acrobatics share an undeniable commonality.But it was a Goa-based certified yoga teacher Yamuna Devi, who started AcroYoga in India and is leading the pack of teachers spread over the length and breadth of the country.
Yamuna, 37, who is half-Indian and half-British, started with yoga quite early, went on to explore Kung Fu and learn different styles of contemporary, and traditional dance forms, and Indian martial arts. “My father hails from Mathura and mother is English who initiated me into yoga at a young age. I started learning AcroYoga in 2006 and got into yoga teaching to transform my life and to help others to do the same in 2008,” says the certified hatha yoga and AcroYoga teacher. She conducts her classes at Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village in Goa and through her yoga companies, Yamflow.com and Soulinunity.com, travels extensively to conduct workshops, retreats, teacher training and classes in communities and yoga centres in India and abroad.
Kanika Gupta of Delhi-based The Yoga Class, who is an active member of AcroYoga Group in Delhi, says, “Jams are not meant for teaching purpose, so to learn or upgrade skills, one should attend AcroYoga sessions with qualified teachers. Beginners are welcome to experience jams, but attending workshops is highly recommended.”
Explaining the nuances of AcroYoga, Mumbai-based Pradeep Mehta of Yoga Art, who was also trained by Yamuna, says, “It’s a partnership practice that involves one person acting as a base, who remains in contact with the ground to support the flyer, who is lifted into various poses that stretch and strengthen the entire body. The base stands or lies on the ground and uses his/her legs to support the flyer.”
Most of the AcroYoga practitioners have a background in yoga, but to do it right, they need to enrol in an AcroYoga foundation course, and learn the full spectrum of the practice by mastering the immersions.
AcroYoga jams also provide an opportunity to practice and play with other enthusiasts.
Mumbai-based AcroYoga Group member and jam ambassador Mira Saraf, lists out three things to emphasise when jamming with new people, and says, “Firstly, it is not a substitute for a formal workshop or training. Secondly, one needs to take care of each other’s safety, and thirdly, as AcroYoga involves a lot of physical contacts, strenuous and complex movements, we must keep etiquette in mind.”
The fad is also catching the fancy of young yoga enthusiasts. Bengaluru-based AcroYoga teacher Vinod Sreeramoju, who was also trained by Yamuna, says, “AcroYoga has received an overwhelming response from people. Those who tried it purely out of curiosity for the first time, fell in love with it, and have taken it forward. As it is a community-based practice, it also brings strangers together, and paves a new platform for the people to open up, listen, understand and care for each other.”So, experiment with this new and unique form to take your yoga practice to the next level.
Acrobatics will develop your physical strength and deepen your capacity to trust. Therapeutics and yoga will open your body, increase your mobility, and teach you recovery methods, including flying therapeutics.
What are Immersions?
A Lunar Therapeutic Immersion will teach you to unlock full health and vitality through therapeutic flying, Thai massage, and yoga. These practices will empower you to use gravity to amplify the healing potential as you cultivate touch, communication and listening skills. Solar Acrobatic Immersions are designed to train you in the art of training acrobatics safely, using progressive skill building. You will learn to co-create a safe environment and deepen your capacity to trust yourself and others. (Source: AcroYoga.org)