by BY DEEPA MENON for ELLE.IN
Any yoga class can give you flexibility and strength, but if you tend to get a bit lonely on the mat, try AcroYoga. Get a beloved human to join you for an intense session that will test your trust in each other. Definitely not first date stuff.
Lena Dunham recently put up pictures from her AcroYoga class, sparking curiosity about this ambitious-looking workout, but it’s not a new concept. The present form is the result of a collaboration ten years ago between a champion acrobat and a teacher of yoga and circus arts.
You start doing AcroYoga by building up strength through push-ups, the downward dog and ab exercises. You do these with your partner so the two of you make one stable unit. Next comes the inversions: headstands and handstands with your partner supporting you. Then, you get into position. Each pose takes one base (the person at the bottom), one flyer (at the top) and one spotter (to prevent falls).
Once everyone is feeling secure, the base can ‘massage’ the flyer mid-air using the feet—a favour to be returned when the flyer comes back to the ground. This looks like really hard yoga, but because you’re taken through it in phases, only moving to the next level when you’re stable at the previous, it might not actually be so bad. And it looks like fun. Hey, Lena Dunham is doing it!
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Photograph: AcroYoga and Instagram/Lena Dunham