Acrobatic yoga takes participants to new heights

NANAIMO - AcroYoga, a relatively new form of yoga to Nanaimo, takes the benefits of yoga with a partner and ads in massage and trust.

Jenny Koropecki performs the bird pose during an AcroYoga session at OmTown Yoga Saturday. Combining acrobatics

Jenny Koropecki performs the bird pose during an AcroYoga session at OmTown Yoga Saturday. Combining acrobatics

The ‘Cirque du Soleil’ of yoga has arrived in Nanaimo.

Blending the elements of acrobatics with yoga and Thai massage, AcroYoga is not your average run-of-the-mat practice.

“It’s ridiculously fun, it’s fantastic for the core and it’s a really neat way of taking your yoga practice and adding in a lot of communication with another person, and a lot of trust,” said Stephanie Green, owner of OmTown Yoga, which has offered workshops in AcroYoga since opening in March 2011. “It’s an amazing practice where you’re using each other’s bodies and playing with balance and strength to create some amazing flows.”

From simple poses like the folded leaf or bird, to more advanced poses like the floating camel or scorpion star, AcroYoga is not a solitary exercise like other forms of yoga.

The practice is performed with two people – one person who serves as the ‘base’ and the other as the ‘flier.’ Sometimes a third person can participate as a ‘spotter.’

Because AcroYoga requires an up-close-and-personal approach in its poses, it also incorporates the benefits of letting go, playfulness, and building trust and communication with a partner as people work through the movements. The massage element of the practice is not only good for the body but also helps strengthen the bond between partners.

Green said she first got a taste for AcroYoga in California and has since tried to bring instructors to Nanaimo. OmTown hosts monthly workshops for beginners, advance workshops every two months, and AcroJam sessions for those who have already participated in a workshop.