If you have been around the SUP and Yoga scene for the past while, then chances are you have probably seen or maybe even tried some AcroYoga.
AcroYoga is a blend of acrobatics and yoga; it combines breath, good body awareness, a partner, and (most importantly) open communication. Ever since we met the fine folks at Hala and got introduced to the amazing and fun world of SUPing, we have been exploring the practice of what we call “Acro SUP.”
Sounds super hard, crazy, and fun, right? It is, but lucky for you we have some tips for getting into it and what poses we find to be the most approachable.
1. Make sure you are confident and are familiar with the board
Before trying to balance or be balanced by another person on a SUP, it is always good to learn how the board works first. Our suggestion is to do some yoga poses, and maybe even try a headstand to see how it feels. Basically, play around with the board before adding another person to your equation!
2. If you have never done AcroYoga before, STOP reading right now and go sign up for at least 5 classes
This is an obvious point, but it needs to be said. Don’t attempt any of this if you have never done acro before. Make sure you are confident with the basics as you could do yourself or partner some harm.
3. Try these four poses first
To fully test this theory, Jason and I took his brother and wife out (pictured) who are beginner AcroYoga practitioners and had them do all of the poses with one of us!
Candlestick: With the base laying down, the inverted flyer grabs the tops of the base’s knees. The flyer’s shoulders are in the bases hands.Free Shoulderstand: The flyer is in an inversion in the base’s arms, with only shoulder and elbow connections. If the flyer stays in a straddle pike position with their legs, it is easier for the base to balance.Star: The flyer is in an inversion with their shoulders on the base’s feet. The base and flyer have hands connected. It is easiest if base can release one foot and use the other foot for balance.Foot to Hand: The flyer’s feet are in the base’s hands.
4. Know these tips
Before attempting any of the above poses, please make sure you are extremely confident with them on the ground. A good rule of thumb is to exit and enter each pose in a slow and controlled manner.
Another great rule of thumb is practicing these poses with your eyes closed. The base and flyer can take turns closing their eyes, but the sensation of suddenly having your vision taken away feels much like how it feels on a board on the water. Please use a spotter for the closed eye exercise!
When doing Acro poses on our boards, we find it easiest if the base’s back is on top of the center handle, as this is the center point of the board.
5. Gear can help
Our favorite boards are inflatable because they are easy to carry anywhere. Our favorite Hala boards for AcroSUP are the Atcha 9’6″ and the Radito. Both boards are fairly wide, which makes them more stable. The width on these boards allows for some of that wobble and play factor, therefore making AcroSUP a fun workout.
Some people like to use an anchor for their board so that it doesn’t drift away. We personally like the challenge of not using one, but we have found it useful when it is super windy out. You can purchase a SUP anchor online or make your own using some rope and a heavy, sinking object.
Last but not least, let’s talk about clothes. Of course, you can practice in your bathing suit, but I personally like practicing in my water tights and a wool shirt. These clothing choices help me stay warm and allow me to be thrown in the water again and again (remember: practice makes perfect!)
Post written by Chelsey and Jason Magness