SHU students experiment with Acro Yoga

This is a pose that focuses on arm strength of the base. The base uses his or her legs only for stability. Photo courtesy of A. Festor

This is a pose that focuses on arm strength of the base. The base uses his or her legs only for stability. Photo courtesy of A. Festor

AcroYoga is a fitness activity that combines yoga poses and acrobatics and most commonly involves two people, a base and a flyer. There are certain poses that allow more than two people to be involved in one stance. AcroYoga is grounded in the objective of physical activity through the use of all major muscle groups as well as the meditative energy balance present in any yoga practice.

According to AcroYoga.org, there are three main elements to the practice, “Solar Acrobatic Practices that cultivate trust, empowerment and joy, Lunar Healing Arts Practices that cultivate listening, loving and letting go and Yogic Practices that cultivate breathe awareness, life balance and connection.”

Candace Hall, a senior Seton Hill student, recently completed an internship with Amazon in California during the summer of 2015. While she was in California, she discovered her new life passion, AcroYoga.

In addition to strength in the base, the flyer practices core balance in this pose; it is a more challenging pose. Photo courtesy of A.Festor/Setonian

In addition to strength in the base, the flyer practices core balance in this pose; it is a more challenging pose. Photo courtesy of A.Festor/Setonian

She has been practicing yoga for seven years and started practicing in tandem with gymnastics. Throughout her fitness career, Hall has practiced Hot Vinyasa Yoga, gentle Hatha Yoga, meditation, and most recently, AcroYoga.

The bird pose is a building block to many other poses and movements. It's commonly taught first to new Acro Yoga students. Photo courtesy of A.Festor/Setonian

The bird pose is a building block to many other poses and movements. It’s commonly taught first to new Acro Yoga students. Photo courtesy of A.Festor/Setonian

I, Nick Totin, am a senior communication and journalism new-media major. I became interested in yoga shortly after beginning a career of running road races in Nov. of 2013. The following spring, I started regularly attending yoga classes as an off-day workout practice to increase my muscle flexibility. Since 2013, I have ran seven races including two half-marathons and logged over 1,000 miles running on my own. I believe that yoga has been instrumental in improving my running. However, in addition to running, I see the benefits in my everyday physical health as well.

AcroYoga is for everybody and every body. Our advice for all of our friends on the Hill is to try yoga! In September, we started doing Acro Yoga at Seton Hill and have moved on to more advanced poses as partners. Candace had a very thorough understanding about AcroYoga from her time in California. Although I was brand new, I think I have the most important thing necessary to start, the desire to learn.

This is arial dancer, a pose that challenges the flexibility of the flyer and balance of the base. Photo courtesy of A.Festor/Setonian

This is arial dancer, a pose that challenges the flexibility of the flyer and balance of the base. Photo courtesy of A.Festor/Setonian

For me, AcroYoga is about learning the limits of the body and understanding that my legs can do more than run and my arms can do more than push-ups. For Candace, yoga is all about finding balance and strength in yourself, while finding your place in the universe.

The yoga poses are designed to help people find balance and peace in the uncertainty of opposing forces. It’s also about recognizing and acknowledging the good and bad parts of your personality and finding a way to bind them to find truth.

In some ways, you cannot “do” yoga because yoga is a continuous mental, physical and spiritual journey. Meditation is the mental portion. The physical portion is the poses within your practice. And the spiritual aspect is about being present and attempting to understand your place in the world. To some people, this means searching for how you can serve others and find your vocation or purpose.

This is throne pose. Flyer and base are not exclusive to each partner. Here, Nick is the flyer an upright pose. Photo courtesy of A.Festor/Setonian

This is throne pose. Flyer and base are not exclusive to each partner. Here, Nick is the flyer an upright pose. Photo courtesy of A.Festor/Setonian

Going forward, Candace would like to venture further into Bikram Yoga and try Ariel (Rope) Yoga. “My entire life, I’ve been envious of people who have a passion, a calling, or a gift for something. Whether it’s art, music, sports, chess, etc. I’ve never felt like I had one but I hoped I’d find it someday. Living in California, I finally found my passion and it’s practicing yoga,” she said.

Candace and I encourage anyone that is interested to join us for AcroYoga or to participate in Seton Hill’s yoga classes on Tuesdays and Fridays. It’s not about being “good” at it or better than anyone else, it’s about centering your mind with the world the same way you center your body with the mat. If you are interested in joining us, please send us an email!

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