Every week, chapters of CHAARG all across the country host Studio Spotlights — events to live out our commitment to helping college-aged women embrace a healthy and happy lifestyle by showing them that fitness can and should be fun. Staples include boxing, yoga, barre, spin, weightlifting, running, and more. But Vanderbilt’s chapter wanted to start of the Spring semester with a bang — acroyoga.
A portmanteau of acrobatic yoga, acroyoga was founded in 1999 by Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku in Montreal, Canada — two names, because acroyoga is always practiced in pairs, if not more, of practioners. As we learned from Sara and Gillian from Steadfast and True Yoga, this makes communication incredibly important in succeeding in even the most basic acroyoga poses.
As we paired up, we made sure to be of the same height — weight doesn’t matter, Gillian notes, because she can base her husband who is about 200 pounds. Some of us paired with long-time friends, and some with complete strangers. Starting out with a few exercises to warm up, partners clasped hands and jump squatted, push-upped, and did core work together in synchronicity (accidentally touching butts provided comedic relief when we started to get a bit tired). Through the next hour, we proceeded to learn more about basing (the person that lies on the floor) and flying (the person that balances on the base’s body part[s] in the air). Because only one girl in the entire room had any experience with acro, we all surprised ourselves when we succeeded at movements completely new to our bodies and laughed when we inevitably toppled into a heap.
It was important for all of us to ask questions — of ourselves, of our partner, and of our instructors — to make sure we were in tune with our bodies and making it easy to have fun. By the end of it, our legs, core, and faces (from all the smiling) were definitely stronger and our hearts and minds open to new ways of moving and to new friends.