In October of 2016, I hosted my very first retreat. I had been contemplating putting one on for at least a year by that point, and I had finally dedicated myself to making this leap. Was I terrified? Absolutely. Regardless, I knew deep down that there was something magical that only a retreat could provide, and I needed to get out of my comfort zone in order to facilitate and experience that magic.
The week of the retreat approached and for whatever reason, I felt inclined to “warm up” those fear muscles of mine and do something else that scared me beforehand.
For a while now, I had been receiving invitations to a nearby AcroYoga class that was hosted on Wednesdays. I had done AcroYoga before (for about two minutes) and it was not only scary but it was something that immediately perked up my perfectionism.
I mean, the very first time I ever tried AcroYoga, having no experience prior, I was already screaming in my head, “DON’T F THIS UP MADDY!” when I was flying on top of a guy who kindly offered to show me some things.
My brain wouldn’t turn off…so I assumed maybe it wasn’t going to be my thing.
Fast-forward a year later and it’s the week of my retreat. I’m looking for opportunities to help get me out of my comfort zone (that don’t involve bodily ink or falling out of a plane) and this dang AcroYoga Facebook invite keeps popping up week after week.
I had been privately watching AcroYoga videos on YouTube where two gorgeous people do insane things in the early morning to sexy music and thought to myself…. “Nope, I’ll never do that…” and closed the browser.
I had been watching groups of people playfully hop on each other at the Farmer’s Market and thought to myself, “Man, that looks like fun,” as I continued on my merry way to the kombucha stand solo.
I knew there was a reason that this Facebook event kept popping up for me week after week. There was something to this AcroYoga thing that needed to be explored.
I ended up putting the class on my calendar and committing to going. I was beyond nervous, but was delightfully surprised when the teacher turned out to be warm-hearted yogi with a passion for teaching newbies this playful artform (she is now one of my dear friends and is also the Acro teacher at my Feminine Surrender retreats).
This “scary thing” ended up being really fun and supportive for me that week as I headed into leading my first retreat, which also ended up being an incredible experience.
As time went out, I continued to go to more Wednesday classes, exploring both my own body and the bodies of others. Every time my mind told me to get something perfect, I remembered that this was a challenge I was actually enjoying the process of learning. If I got it perfectly on the first try…well, then I would reach my ceiling really quickly. I wanted to stay interested in this for as long as possible, so I began to use all opportunities of “failure” to keep me invested in coming back to class. If anything, getting stuck on something I wanted to learn was exciting. It meant I had a fun project to work on with my body, which to me, was ten million times better than going to the gym day after day doing the same ole’ same ole’ and never experiencing a challenge.
Fast-forward to today: I’ve been doing AcroYoga for at least 1.5 years and I’ve been jumping in head first for the past 5 months. It took me at least a year of once-weekly classes to gain the confidence I desired in order to leave the classroom and start playing with new people in new places.
What I have discovered over this time in regards to my Divine Feminine, Masculine and Child goes so entirely deep, but I’m going to do my best to describe these discoveries here.
I speak a lot about the Feminine and Masculine energies here on my website, but for anyone that is new to this concept, here are your Cliff Notes:
Every one of us has a unique harmony with three energies: the Masculine, the Feminine and the Child.
The Feminine and Masculine are essentially your Yin and Yang. One cannot exist without the other, as they are inseparable opposites.
Your Masculine is the energy that pushes outward in life. It’s bright, exuberant and strong. Your Masculine is your Inner Warrior. He drives you to set goals, protect, accomplish, gain knowledge, keep going and set boundaries for yourself.
Your Feminine is the energy that moves inward in life. It’s soft, dreamy and creative. Your Feminine is your Inner Goddess. She flows with life like a river, surrenders to the unknown, builds community, listens, nurtures (self + others), relies on her intuition and is one with Mother Earth.
Whether or not you actively feel both of these energies in your life, they are there. The truth is, many of us have Wounded Masculines and Wounded Feminines.
The Wounded Masculine is insecure, egotistical, and power-hungry and the Wounded Feminine is manipulative, complacent, co-dependent and “weak.” If you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend you get my workbook Freeing Your Feminine Spirit HERE.
The last energy I’m going to touch on is your Inner Child.
The Inner Child is your ability to have a beginner’s mindset. It is your playfulness, childlike wonder, excitement, vulnerability and innocence. It’s those moments you let down your guard, experience deep belly laughter and do nothing for the sake of doing nothing. We don’t get to experience this side of ourselves too much as adults if we are not conscious of its existence and actively letting it loose.
Before I found AcroYoga, all three of these energies were feeling pretty stuck. I had done some work on my Feminine in regards to my body image (accepting my curves, letting myself feel more expressive sexually, adopting a life of vulnerability) but I still had a very big way to go (and still do—there is always more to learn). My Inner Child had been the most neglected. I rarely found myself letting go and laughing about pointless things. I rarely found myself connecting with strangers unless we had an official coffee date or set up something professionally.
Here is what Acro has taught me about all three of these:
The Divine Masculine
When two people are playing together in AcroYoga, you have something called a “base” and something called a “flyer.” As you probably can guess, the base is on the bottom and the flyer is on the top…flying.
The first few times I tried AcroYoga I had no confidence in basing. For whatever reason, my teacher Laura, had absolute confidence in me and let me base her in everything we did. Not only that, but she highly encouraged it. She wanted me to base her in all of the poses we learned so that I would gain both confidence in being able to swap positions, but also be able to let my body have a chance to gain some muscle memory for these positions.
The Divine Masculine is the support system you create for yourself. He is your “rock” in times of need. He is your ability to keep going confidently even when you have fears. He is your biggest cheerleader because He knows what you are capable of.
AcroYoga has been a physical manifestation of everything I have ever learned about the Masculine. Mentally, I knew what the Masculine was supposed to be like…but actually feeling it provided for me an entirely new way to integrate this energy.
Being able to hold another body up and have the mental stamina to keep going even if I have fears, has been empowering beyond belief…and it continues to teach me lessons outside of AcroYoga and well into business, relationships, communication, goals and so much more.
Lastly, it is your Masculine that summons up the courage to be direct and communicate. If you struggle with communicating your needs, Acro will teach you how to do this instantly. If you don’t feel safe doing something, you say “down” without needing to explain yourself. This life lesson transfers over to so many areas of “real life” as there are many times you need to say “no” without needing to explain yourself.
You will also learn how to communicate with your partners in order to make something work correctly. If something needs to shift, you talk about it. If something doesn’t feel good, you share it. If you want to try something new, you explore that together.
The Divine Feminine
As a “flyer” your number one job is to remain tight so that the base can balance and control your body. Guess what is really hard to do when you are on another person’s feet/hands? Surrender to someone else controlling you—that’s what.
The Divine Feminine is all about creativity, softness, receptivity and surrendering. As a flyer, you have to give up control of where you are going in order to get there. There are many moves where you may be upside down and you have to continue to hold your shape so that you support system (base) can do his part safely.
Rest assured, you will also have a spotter, who is your additional support system and is equally as important as the base. Your spotter will catch you if you fall…but you have to trust them in order to give the pose a shot.
This process is not perfect, I will tell you that immediately. There are many moves I still struggle with letting go of control and trusting everything will be okay, and there are still many things I will learn in the future that will be difficult as well.
This is what is so beautiful about AcroYoga…it consistently provides new opportunities for me to let go, surrender and trust.
The Inner Child
This is a big one.
When I was young, I had one of the biggest imaginations. I lived in a magical land filled with dwarves and elves and yes, “the one ring.”
I painted my room purple and had Star Wars action figures by my bed.
I took pictures with my best friend Travis in pitch-black darkness with the flash on to catch the most outrageous faces of us so we could laugh our butts off.
I spent time doing silly things for the sake of doing silly things, and somewhere over the years I lost touch with this ability.
AcroYoga has brought it back. Not only that, but it’s reminded me that this actually isn’t an “ability” at all…it’s innate. We all have innocence, playfulness and pointless laughter within us waiting to be expressed and explored. It’s when we stifle it out of “shoulds” that we simply forget how to feel it again.
“I should be working instead.”
“I shouldn’t waste an hour doing that.”
“I should use this time more wisely.”
“I shouldn’t spend money on the classes.”
My Inner Child has more to teach me in this life than anything else. My Inner Child is one of my favourite aspects of myself…and it’s also the aspect that gets covered up the fastest.
(What is more playful than disco leg warmers?!)
AcroYoga has brought back my playful side. It’s allowed me to be playful with people who I have no history and prior relationship with. It’s allowed me to let down my walls and trust others without even knowing there first name yet. It’s incredible.
I was asked a question recently from someone on my Instagram who said, “It looks like you’re always playing with different people instead of the same person over and over again. I think that would be my biggest struggle!”
Totally. I get that for sure. It was for me too—for the first entire year.
I didn’t start playing with new people until I finally committed to playing with one new person. And then two. And then three. And now, I can essentially play with anyone for a bit and trust them (you will learn if they actually aren’t a good fit for your body/energy and then you can say “no thank you” and then go play with someone else).
Originally, my fear of playing with new people was due to the fact that I wasn’t really comfortable with physical touch. Physical touch, unless you were my partner, wasn’t really acceptable. It either meant that I was leading someone on or they wanted something…that’s it. AcroYoga has broken that story for me. It has provided a safe space for me to love, touch, play and feel another person’s body without owing them anything or leading anyone on (and vice versa). It’s taught me the value of quality touch. And what’s even more awesome is that now I no longer have to be in a relationship to feel physical touch in a safe way (that’s my love language). I get it every damn day because in my community, we have built an extremely safe space.
Lastly, consent is a really big deal in the Acro community, so if at any point you do not fee comfortable playing with someone you can simply say “no” without any questions asked. Again, another beautiful aspect of this community that will teach you a life lesson for the real world.
Want more Acro insight?
- Listen to this podcast interview I did with Jason Nemer, co-founder of AcroYoga, HERE
- Watch my Acro videos on Instagram HERE
- Sign up to be notified of my next Feminine Surrender Retreat where we do beginner’s Acro to learn more about the Feminine/Masculine energies HERE
Want to take a class yourself?
It’s easy to get started! Simply Google “AcroYoga in (fill in the blank with your city)” or go to Facebook and search for AcroYoga groups in your city. Join the groups and ask the members what nearby class is best for a beginner. Please, please, please let me know how it goes if you give it a shot!
There are endless things about Acro that I love dearly (I didn’t even mention how amazing it has been to base/fly as two females! Talk about breaking the stigma around competition and pettiness. I’ll save this one for another time). If you enjoyed this article and you want to learn/hear more about Acro from me, please comment below letting me know.
Looking forward to hearing about your first AcroYoga experience!