Let’s face it: Sometimes relationships can just get dull and routine. The passion might dwindle, hectic lives keep us running from here to there with little free time, and the connection can just become loose.
Whakapaignia and I have been playing Acro (or flying yoga, or circus yoga..whatever you want to call it) for 7 years plus and we learned a lot from flying each other, flying others, and how flying helps our relationship. In a society in which social connections tend to be shallow and vague, Acro can certainly take your relationship to a new and interesting level. It tends to make you playful, joyful, and happy and who doesn’t need more of that in their lives? Perhaps one reason relationships take a dive is because playfulness is lost. Remember in the beginning of your relationship how much fun it was to flirt and kid around? Remember the little teasing, showing off, touching each other, etc.? By engaging in Acro, you can bring the essence of playfulness back into your relationship quite easily. You will feel like a kid in a candy store or the excitement you used to feel on the teeter-totter.
Acro is simply a form of yoga between two people that combines yoga poses (usually on top of someone else’s feet), Thai Yoga Massage, and a bit of acrobatics. It involves beautifully synchronized acrobatic and therapeutic flying. You might wonder what flying means when it comes to Acro. It’s simple. The person on top of the other person’s feet is the flyer and the person holding that person up is the base. This synchronicity helps people to learn to trust each other, communicate better, and re-connect in a meaningful and spiritual way. Acro has brought our souls into a wonderfully refreshing union full of balance and confidence that you just don’t normally get from other common couple activities. Here are the few nuggets of wisdom we have gained flying with each other.
#1. The Practice of Being Present
Acro keeps us present with each other. You cannot be thinking of your past or future while you are flying your partner around, because the consequences are physically tangible; your partner will fall. In a partnership it is important to learn how to fall (literally and figuratively) with grace and ease. Reality shows up when you are holding the weight of your partner on your feet, this opportunity gives you a chance to practice each moment as it comes with acceptance, laughter, and love.
If you are attentive, you will see that Acro prompts you to own your present moment; be attentive to it and then you will see it, appreciate it, and feel happiness and peace. Acro allows you to fully appreciate you for who you are at that very moment and embrace and accept the beingness of your partner as well. It is a spiritual experience that allows you to reconnect on a regular basis. As you partake of this divine opportunity with your partner, it then becomes a shared experience that seals your hearts together in a new, fresh, and meaningful way. After all, life can get busy with work, errands, tasks, etc. We know that something is off in our relationship when we have not taken the time to fly, a.k.a time to BE with each other.
#2. Take responsibility
Taking responsibility for your part in your relationship increases the chances of it working out incredibly. Many couples tend to blame each other when things don’t work out (trust me there are times where we blame each other too). When you get into the habit of blaming it makes you want to point the finger at someone else, but when you engage in Acro, you will find out quickly that you are responsible for yourself and your partner for him or herself. When your partner falls it requires both of you sharing responsibility and being mindful of the present moment (it takes at least 2 to do acro). Pointing fingers won’t take you anywhere, but taking responsibility will cause you to fly higher and happier, partnering together in anticipation and joy.
#3. Communicate Compassionately
Communication is vital in a relationships. Too many couples stop communicating or just do not know how to communicate. Too many problems go unresolved because of lack of communication, so it is important to see the necessity of honesty and openness in such We love practicing Compassionate Communication while flying and not flying. When you fly, you get to practice the compassionate communication technique, which we modify to look like this:
1. Observe the Triggers: Observe while you are flying, what triggers you.
2. Feelings. Once you have observed the point that made you trigger, then share the sensations you experience based upon your observation or maybe guess the feelings that your partner might be experience
3. Needs and Request. Clearly state what you need and make a request (not a demand).
Here is an example of what could happen while you are flying.
"I notice that your breath is short (observation). I am feeling a bit rushed. (feeling)" Would you be willing to take a break and we try this again in 10 minutes? (needs and request)” When you make a request, the answer might be “no”. If they say “no”, let it be a jumping point for a discussion to happen.
It might seem silly that while you are flying you have to go through all these stages to get your point across, but it is worth it. Sometimes, you can do all of this in one sentence or it might take a lot of practice to articulate your observations and feelings. Regardless of how ridiculous this process seems, once you practice it in play, it gives you the practice for when you really need it. (i.e. when you are about to fight with your partner) and this will be your saving grace.
#4. The Gift of Giving & Receiving
A wonderful aspect of flying, besides bringing play back to your relationship, is that you get to give to your partner without expecting anything in return. Even so, usually the other person wants to give back. Whakapaignia, on a good day, is 100 pounds heavier than myself and to be able to fly him around in a delightful way makes me feel like a mini super hero. It also makes him feel aligned, adjusted, and happy. When flying, Whakapaignia has this wide-open heart and has a desire give to me. Maybe I don’t fly right after Whakapaignia gets finished, but maybe he makes me dinner or gives me a mini Thai Massage session.
By flying your partner you started an amazing cycle of Giving and Receiving. This gift will hopefully never end; it will perpetuate your relationship into a practice of appreciation. An added benefit is that after flying each other for over a few weeks, you both will be stronger, more flexible, and inspired.
#5. Open Your Heart Daily
Acro is a deeply intimate experience and contrary to what a few may believe, it has nothing to do with sexual intimacy. After all, intimacy is not sex. Rather, intimacy is a feeling of being deeply connected, passionate, and loving toward yourself or another and Acro fosters the development of such. People hear about the way Acroopens up the heart to give and receiving more love, as well as experience transformation individually and together, and they are eager to come and learn more. They want to experience it first-hand. We’ve had many people report that Acro really helps them to open their eyes to see their partner, and humanity in general, for who they truly are: perfect, whole, and complete. That is why we encourage everyone to fly and to fly someone else every day.
Whether you play Acro with a friend or your partner, you will gain the awesome qualities of trust, surrender, balance, and playfulness. If you commit to playing with your partner on a regular basis, I assure you that your relationship will reach a different and hopefully an exciting level. Your boundaries will diminish, you will feel more connected, more sure of yourself individually and as a couple, and ultimately more HAPPY.
After all, that’s what we all want and Acro/Flying/Playing helps us get there.