The beauty of yoga is that it can be combined with many other activities, from hiking to horsebackriding to stand-up paddleboarding. But a natural pairing for yoga is with acrobatics; because yoga builds up strength and flexibility, even non-circus performers can get to a place where they can do some fun acrobatic moves using their yoga as a starting and ending point (and as a focal point so that balance is maintained).

Acroyoga, simply, is a practice that combines yoga, acrobatics and healing arts (like Thai yoga massage or other types of massage). It's usually done with another person or people, and the more complicated moves usually include a spotter as well (more on that below).

I've never done acroyoga, but I saw it performed this summer at Wanderlust in Vermont and it looked really fun. It was actually great entertainment to observe each position from beginning to end, and so unlike a typical yoga practice, acroyoga is somewhat performative (at least, it seems, when you get really good at it!).

Acroyoga, according to Wikipedia got its start in Montreal. "Acroyoga Montreal, led by Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku, has used the term since 2001 brings together acrobatics, yoga and dance/performance. Acroyoga Inc., which began in California with Jason Nemer and Jenny Klein and was labelled as acroyoga in 2006. The latter practices brings together acrobatics, yoga and Thai massage. Both schools offer teaching certifications, and despite some differences have many similar poses."

Acroyoga can be great for couples, friends and parents and kids to learn, as it fosters trust and encourages activity together. It's a good idea to take a class so that you can figure out which of your teammembers is going to be the base (the person who sits or lies on the ground and offers stability and lifting), and which person is a flyer (the one who is lifted and moves into dynamic positions). Having an experienced third person be a spotter (someone who can stand apart, watch, and point out balance problems) will help base and flyer learn what's safe and most effective.

Have you tried acroyoga? What did you love about it? What didn't you love?

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

What is acroyoga?
What is acroyoga? This natural pairing of yoga and acrobatics can build strength, flexibility, confidence and trust.