Don’t watch that video.
Now imagine yourself standing up straight with a complete stranger lying on their back before you with their feet on your hipbones. You tip forward, grasp hands, and suddenly you’re lifted into the air. Your legs are straight and engaged; your back is arched. Your partner has you steadily balanced on their legs. When you’re ready, you let go and slowly move your arms to your sides to resemble the top stroke of a capital ‘T.’ You lift your head up and glimpse treetops, roofs, or wallpaper, depending on where you are. You might feel a bit tired and you know your core needs some work, but you’re exhilarated because you’re flying. That’s Acrobatic Yoga (AcroYoga).
What originally started as a small gathering (jam) of people interested in AcroYoga in Daan Park has turned into Peace Street Yoga, a yoga studio and community that teaches the practice. A new practice that emerged in the 1980s*, this style of partner yoga combines traditional yoga poses with acrobatics and Thai massage. Headed by Americans Kayla and Nathan and their equally flexible dog Luna, Peace Street is a local yoga studio that is striking a pose in Taipei with two pairs of hands and feet.
Playfulness, trust, teamwork, and communication are important aspects of AcroYoga. When Nathan first witnessed an AcroYoga demonstration, he was immediately taken back to his childhood. “I thought, ‘Those people are doing airplane,’ which is what I called it when I was a kid. We should do more silly kid stuff like that,” he says. Kayla discovered the practice one day in a California park. She stumbled upon a jam and fell in love with it at first flight. Kayla and Nathan brought the practice to Taipei last year and have since built a community.
From finely tuned airplane moves to shoulder stands, AcroYoga is about connecting with other people to try a new and daring form of exercise while also having fun. Teamwork and connection are some of Kayla’s favorite parts of the practice. “You’re forced to connect. And you know it might be a little bit uncomfortable and it might unravel your insides a little bit, but I like that. It forces you to connect with other people, which is beautiful,” she says smiling.
Don’t feel like you can’t do Acro if you’re not a yogi. It’s a practice for people who like acrobatics, gymnastics, or just hanging upside down. At Peace Street Yoga, students work in groups of three with one flier, one base, and one spotter. There’s always someone to catch you if you fall. Classes begin with a yoga warm-up and an icebreaker before students move on to practicing the day’s sequence as presented by Kayla and Nathan. It’s an atmosphere of trust and fun, exploration and support. It’s a place where you can learn how to soar, twist, and stretch your way to poses that beat that airplane game you played as a kid. You’ll learn to work with other people to balance using your hips, back, knees, and shoulders while also hanging upside down, backwards, and on your side. It’s a fun practice of people overcoming their fear of heights to literally reach new heights.
Now it’s time for the video. If you’re intrigued, watch that video. If you’re scared, watch that video. If you’re inspired, watch that video.
For more information on Peace Street Yoga, find them on Facebook here,
Or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join a jam, take a class, or register for the upcoming workshop at the end of March. You’ll be surprised to find that you can do more than just be an airplane.
*Correction: it’s uncertain when acrobatics and yoga were first combined, but the term AcroYoga was coined in the 1980s.