…A good question to ask yourself on your mat, and a great question to ask yourself off your mat. As many of you know, in addition to Yoga, I practice acrobatics, and teach a style called AcroYoga- a system and method that fuses the three lineages of yoga, acrobatics, and Thai massage.

With people taking photos and videos over the years I have seen comments that range from “that is incredible, the amount of focus and trust that it must take to do something like that is absolutely amazing” to “starved for attention! This is a far cry from yoga, and I am ashamed that I have to even be associated with this. You make the rest of us look bad.”

So which is it? What qualifies something as yoga? Is it being locked in a 110 degree room with a stop watch, mirror, and a set series of poses? Is it a creative dancing flow, choreographed to a hip playlist with a yoga mat under your feet? Is it precise alignment and long held postures all done with shorts that rival the sexiness of adult diapers?  Is it Adho Mukha Vrksasana (hand stand) borrowed from acrobatics, or Virabhadrasana II (warrior II), imitating the stances used by ancient warriors?

If I take a shape like warrior two and I create the physical look of it, then that makes us really good at simon says. The difference between the childrens game and a hatha yoga pose is the power that is put behind it. By infusing each shape with all the passion, joy, presence, and love inside of us that shape becomes Yoga. I do absolutely believe in alignment within our practice as a tool to help bring the mind into the body, and the body in a space that allows for the optimal flow of prana – the life force.  Conscious breath, with focus on alignment, can bring us deeply into our body; our body lives in the now.  LINK THE MIND AND THE BODY, AND THE MIND BECOMES PRESENT.

Alignment also refers to our current relationship with our intention.  May we align with the highest within us regardless of whether we are in chair pose or getting squished into an already crowded and hot subway car.  This is practicing Yoga.  SET YOUR INTENTION AND LIVE BY IT.

Mistakes.  I once read that mistakes are the bridge between what we don’t already know and wisdom.  I like that!  We are bound to make mistakes, for that is the art of learning, and learning is why we are here.  We will all make decisions that might unintentionally or just plain selfishly hurt someone else for our own gain.  The goal is not to be perfect, but rather to find the beauty in our imperfections and to find forgiveness when we see them in everyone else.  Always check in with our intention and harmful mistakes will be minimal.  And, when they happen, take responsibility for the mistake and forgive yourself.  May each mistake bring us more compassion and kindness towards others.  Afterall, we are simply reflections of one another. KINDNESS IS YOGA, AND DOES NOT REQUIRE A MAT.

For about two years I had a practice of constantly asking myself “Am I awake?”.  Just by asking the question the answer would have to be yes.  Even if a moment ago I was day dreaming, the question itself is evidence of the conscious witness inside.  I wouldn’t speak without asking this question,  and the question alone changed my life.  Now I will be asking a new question, and I invite you to join: AM I PRACTICING YOGA?

I will finish with my response to a blog posting on Elephant Journal

AnOldTimer ·

Looks lovely and a lot of fun, but…. am I the only one old enough to know this is just plain old acrobatics?People used to do this in theaters, circuses, on the beaches and at fairs when I was a kid.

It’ really great, but it’s got nothing to do with yoga at all, except for marketing. You stick the word ‘yoga’ on it and it sells nowadays.

 Matt Giordano  

yes this is Acrobatics and you are correct it is nothing new, it’s just becoming popular again.  AcroYoga is actually a style of yoga that uses the three lineages of Acrobatics, Yoga, and Thai Massage to teach trust, compassion, kindness, and focus…amongst many other aspects of life. I wouldn’t consider AcroYoga to be Hatha Yoga, even though it uses Asana within the teachings. But I would say it is Yoga in the same way that Karma Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga are forms of yoga that don’t necessarily incorporate asana (poses). The question we all should be asking these days is WHAT IS YOGA?

As Patanjali states in the Yoga Sutras, I believe yoga is “the science of the mind”.  So long as you are studying your reactions, impulses, triggers, patterns, and all the beauty that rests in your heart, then I don’t think it matters what you do in terms of creating a practice around that.

All that said…what you see in this video is two yogis practicing connection, awareness, focus, & breath within the physical confines and structure of Acrobatics.

let me know your thoughts!

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