Acro Yoga: How to Do 10 Must-Try Poses
Acro Yoga is a fun, challenging way to take your yoga practice – and your happiness – to the next level. It’s also a great way to connect with others. Because you do acro yoga with a partner, it challenges you on different levels than the traditional yoga practice since it requires you to trust not only yourself but your partner, as well.
Although some acro poses are quite challenging to do – and mesmerizing to watch – the good news is that with a reasonably able body and a little bit of an adventurous spirit, there are plenty of acro poses you can start having fun with today.
What Is Acro Yoga?
Acro Yoga is the practice of combining acrobatics with yoga poses. Most acro poses consist of a base, the person on the ground, and a flyer, the person in the air. Often there is also a spotter who is there to assist, support, and catch you if you fall.
For each acro yoga pose, you’ll use your flexibility, strength, and a little bit of bravery. Read on to learn how to get into ten must-do acro yoga poses.
1. Double Plank
- Begin the pose by starting with the base person in a high plank position with palms flat on the ground, fingers fanned open, and shoulders in line with the wrists.
- Next, the top person is going to climb on top of the base person with their head toward the base’s feet.
- Have the top person’s hands grasp the base’s ankles. The top person’s feet can rest on the base’s shoulders. Extend your toes rather than curl them. Pull your abdominal muscles toward your spine to engage your core. Hold the plank position.
2. Straddle Throne
- Begin with the base lying flat on their back with legs straight up toward the sky (perpendicular to the mat). Separate your feet so that the arch of each foot can rest on the hips of the flyer.
- Once the base is in position, the flyer will rest their hips on the base’s feet and launch themselves so that they are in a flying position above the base. The base holds the flyer’s hands (picture a Superman position, much like you did as a child).
- With the help of a spotter, the flyer can bend their knees and wrap their legs around the front of the base’s legs. The base’s feet will move under the flyer’s thighs.
- The flyer should properly align their spine (utilize your core muscles to pull your body upright), so they are sitting straight up and can position their hands out or together at the heart.
3. Back Bird
- The base starts in a Legs Up The Wall pose, only without the wall. Lie on the mat with your legs extended straight, making a 90-degree angle with your body.
- The flyer can align their back with the base’s legs. Then, the base bends the knees as the flyer sits their butt in the cradle of the sole of the base’s feet.
- As the flyer rests on the base’s feet, have the flyer reach their arms back toward the base. The base grabs the flyer’s hands for support. Once the flyer feels secure, they can lean back as the base person straightens their legs and begins to lift the partner.
- Once flying, the top person straightens their left leg while bending the right knee (align the right foot with the left knee). When the flyer does the above movement, they will move into a semi-back bend position while the base lets go of the hands so the top can reach the arms out toward their feet for balance.
- Keep a spotter close to avoid injury and ensure proper structure.
- Start in Throne Pose (which is the base for many acro yoga poses).
- Once balanced in throne, the flyer will leave their right foot tucked behind the base’s leg while they untuck their left leg.
- Be careful to keep equal weight, balance on the sole of the base’s foot while bending the left knee so that the left foot of the flyer can tuck into the crook of their left elbow.
- The flyer then reaches their right arm toward the ceiling. Bend your elbow to interlace the fingers of both hands.
5. Forearm Butterfly
- Start in Throne Pose. Have the top person lean forward to grab hands with the base; have the base hold the flyer’s hands with straight arms that lock into place.
- Then, the base bends one arm as the top bends theirs, lining up forearm to forearm. Repeat for both arms, so that the flyer is resting forward and balancing their forearms and body weight on the base’s forearms.
- Once stable, the top person can bend their knees. Draw the soles of the feet together without collapsing the hips.
- Keep the core, glutes, and arms engaged to create lightness for the base. Gaze forward or toward the sky.
6. Inverted Lotus
- With this inverted acro yoga pose, make sure a spotter is standing nearby.
- Begin with the base flat on their back and their legs straight (like Legs Up The Wall pose).
- The flyer will stand with their feet on either side of the base person, with the flyer’s front body facing the front of the base’s legs.
- With a spotter, the flyer will move into a handstand. The flier can place their hands on either side of the base at their mid-waist.
- The base then opens their legs enough to position their feet to touch the flyer’s thighs. The flyer can bend their legs so that they rest their thighs against the base’s feet, balancing and resting upside down.
- Once the top feels secure, the flyer will take on foot and cross it over the top of the opposite leg. Following that, they can take the opposite foot to the opposite thigh.
- The top person engages their core and legs to create lightness as they rest the weight of their body on the base.
- The flyer can take hands to heart center and breathe.
7. Backbend & Downward Facing Dog Combo Pack
- The base person assumes Downward Facing Dog position.
- The top person will also start in Downward Facing Dog, with their fingers meeting the base’s fingers on the mat, positioned head to head.
- With a spotter, the top person kicks their feet into the air. The spotter will help position their feet to land on the base’s tailbone.
8. Whale Pose
- The base begins once again lying flat on the back with the legs extended upward to the sky.
- The top person begins facing away from the base’s legs with their feet planted on either side of the base’s shoulders.
- The base grabs the flyer’s ankles while bending their knees toward their chest so that the flyer can lean back onto the base’s feet. The base should have their feet near the flyer’s shoulders.
- To maneuver the flyer into place, the base starts to straighten their legs while lifting the flyer’s legs. The top person will be stretched long as the base reaches their arms above the head while securing the flyer’s legs in a proper position with ankles aligned with the hips.
9. Warriors Intertwined
- Start with the base person in a Warrior 2 position with the left leg forward.
- The top person stands behind the base and wraps their left leg over the base’s left leg. Tuck the toes under the base’s calf muscle.
- Next, the top person takes their left hand and secures it on the base’s left shoulder.
- Then, while engaging the core, glutes, and leg muscles, the flyer starts to move their body parallel to the ground as they hang from the base’s shoulder and lifts the right leg off the ground. Straighten the right leg.
- Peek the head and right arm out from the right side of the base’s body.
10. Bow on Chair
- The base will get into a stable wide-legged chair pose with feet separated, knees bent, and the tips of the toes visible when looking down past the knees.
- Facing the same direction, the top person will move their bottom near the pelvic region of the base.
- The base will lean down and wrap their arms around the waist of the top person, with the left hand around the right wrist to secure.
- With a spotter nearby, the top person wraps their legs backward around the base to bring their big toes to touch.
- The base will lean back as the top person leans forward to create a symbiotic balance of weight holding each person in place.
- The top person can reach their arms back and lift their head and chest forward.