Ride the Wind – Therapeutic Flying

This past weekend I performed with my Kaizen Acro Yoga Crew at a university festival.  We made the five hour bus trip up to Seoul to perform our two, four minute songs which we rehearsed for weeks prior. Indeed it was a lot of work, but it was well worth it.

For this performance we had a little less time to prepare than we did for the first one, maybe three or four weeks to create, choreograph, and rehearse which meant that we practiced a lot. Our high-flying group met 4-5 times a week and practiced for 2-4 hours each time. I was bruised up and my muscles have been achy, but in that way that I love, the rewarding soreness that tells me that I’ve been working hard.

No pain, no gain.

No pain, no gain.

But with everything in yoga a balance needs to be found. My well trained body was yearning for some relaxation and rest, which is why I was allowing myself frequent naps these past few weeks, a luxury that doesn’t usually make it into my schedule. I knew that my body needed to recuperate, so I hit the pillow for 10-20 minutes before training.

Last week on a Wednesday was one of those long training nights, we met at 6:30 to warm up, ran our routines over and over again, tweaking as we went, and then it was class time. From 8-10pm was the Big Birds class at Kaizen, the studio run by my very good friends Mindy and Simon. The class is usually really intense and forces me to push myself to my physical limits. Last week’s class however, was a little more on the chill side which was exactly what my body had been desiring.

In the middle of class Mindy asked us to switch it up a bit, so instead of drilling press ups (her new favorite activity,) she had us partner up and (thank the lord!) do therapeutic flying. You can think of therapeutic flying as receiving a massage in the air by your acro partner. The base is the masseuse and the flyer is the very passive, limp, receiver of the massage. It is the yin to the yang of the high powered washing machines in acro yoga.

At last week’s class we were instructed to focus on the shoulders, so my partner put me in folded leaf and started massaging my traps and neck. Folded LeafIt.was.wonderful! I also played masseuse and based her in folded leaf. Having those 10 minutes of therapeutics was so very welcomed by my tired body; I wasn’t actually sure that I was going to be able to push through an intense traditional acro class, and was pleasantly surprised when class ended up being gentler than normal. Also, I slept so well that night, which isn’t the norm; usually after finishing class at 10 and cycling home from the studio, I am up and wired for a few hours, finding it difficult to quite my body and mind for bed, but last night I had no problem sleeping – maybe partially due to the therapeutics.

If you get the chance to attend a class or workshop which includes therapeutic flying, then I suggest going. It can be done with a stranger or friend, or it can be practiced with a partner to create more intimacy and give you a skill that will keep on giving.

Acro yoga classes can be found here in Busan at Kaizen. Classes are offered for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students. Every Friday there is an acro jam, free for all to attend and play. Check their website for times and pricing.

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