Recently I was approached by my friend and studio owner, Mindy Sisco, to represent her studio along with three others in an acro yoga performance. Mindy is away, traveling and training in the US so cannot perform herself, so instead the line up is: her business partner, Simon, two other talented local acro yogis, and myself. An event in Seoul celebrating International Yoga Day on June 21, 2015 is where we will show off our work.
It is because of this upcoming performance that I have been doing less and less yoga and more and more acro yoga these days. As mentioned in a previous post, I am fairly new to acro and do not have a solid and disciplined practice like I do with my traditional yoga. Therefore, I must admit that I was hesitant to agree to join the group when first asked. I didn’t feel that I was good enough or well-practiced enough. I also struggled with the idea of “performing” when it comes to yoga. I’m aware that there are such things as yoga asana competitions in which men and women push their bodies’ to the limit in order to demonstrate advanced postures in front of judges who then chose a winner. Odd, right? To me yoga is about the body and mind; it is a personal and mental practice of leaving your ego off of the mat. Competing with others to see who can do a balancing pose the best seems to me to be the antithesis of yoga. Logically then, I should have politely declined the opportunity, of myself performing yoga in front of people at a big event, right? Well, maybe, but there are a few reasons why I went against my beliefs.
First of all, acro yoga and traditional yoga are similar, yet different. Acro is generally done not only for the enjoyment of working with a partner and pushing individual/partner limits, but also to be watched and appreciated by others. Often groups of friends or strangers get together in public spaces to practice and play. I am sure that the majority of acro yogis do not practice in public simply to boost their ego, but more likely it is to share their art and skill.
It would be a sad, sad world if artists and musicians practiced and played mostly behind closed doors; I think it is the same for acro yoga.
Secondly, I knew that pushing myself and having a clear deadline to perfect a performance piece with others would be good for me. There is never an endsight with an asana yoga practice, it always continues, it is unlikely that someone will practice for years on end and then one day – “poof!” cross the finish line and complete their yoga practice. Yes, it is common to use a certain pose as motivation, for example trying to hold headstand (Salambasana) in the middle of the room is a common goal, but once that is achieved there are other variations of it to try and so many other challenging postures to work towards. It is exciting and rewarding to push the limits, which is how I look at this performance.
The final, reason why I am practicing 5-6 days a week, 2-3 hours at a time is because I hope that our final product will act as inspiration to others. I know I am not the only one who searches for images or videos of yoga or acro yoga. I enjoy finding new yoga-eye-candy online to watch in awe and admire the feats of the human body. I am a humble person, but I do hope that the audiance at the event, as well as those who view a video of our practices or performance will take something away from it that tickles their acro or yoga fancy and inspires them to jump back into bird after repeatedly falling on their face.