Hermosa Beach, California
''True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied'' - Aadil Palkhivala
You may be wondering, what is Acro Yoga all about? Having ventured down the spiritual path decades ago, I developed a passion for Vinyasa Yoga. I adore the flow, the vibe, the peace, the community, the connection and the beautiful space that it created inside of me. I absolutely love the way that it makes me feel. I remember being so confused when yogis would use the term “creating space.” What did that really mean? Well, the truth is, that’s the ultimate goal of yoga. To find a new space on the inside: space for growth, space for healing, space for hearts to open, a beautiful empty space to be filled with new energy on a conscious level and to let go of what no longer serves us. The intention is that the real “yoga,” which means union, happens when we leave our mats and bring our hearts into the outside world. It’s a constant contraction and expansion within.
Acro Yoga blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of the healing arts. Under the guidance of my beautiful yoga instructor, Amanda Lee Murphy (@spin_yin) of the Yogaloft in Manhattan Beach, my intense passion for yoga make curious about the challenge of Acro Yoga. The athleticism involved is something far beyond regular yoga.
Exploring Acro Yoga is an exciting challenge for me … to create such beauty of form while conquering the trepidation of “Can I really do that?!” Do I have that kind of strength? It helps to surround yourself with fabulous partners! Amanda is a brilliant teacher on so many levels and her partner, Rian Basilio (@lovetraffiker), is a force in his own right with a strong grounding presence. When I arrived at the beach, these two were already doing their “thing” which meant some pretty wild acrobatic challenges on the lifeguard stand. It is exhilarating to feel Rian’s physical power and endurance combine with Amanda’s grace and form as we are both lifted into the air to create beautiful poses! Drawn to yoga for the philosophy, I love the ancient mystical teachings and have always resonated strongly with the essence of Buddhism. I’ve found Acro Yoga to be a brilliant way to shatter your beliefs about yourself and to open the mind to unlimited possibility. If I can do it at the age of 55, trust me, anyone can do it!
Headbands of Hope sent me this fabulous vibrant headband which benefits children who have cancer. Jessika Ekstrom was inspired by seeing the young cancer patients wearing headbands following chemotherapy when they would lose their hair. It’s a brilliant idea where every headband purchased in turn gifts one to a child. I loved the colors in this one and it was the perfect solution to the outdoor elements having been quite a windy day. Give them a visit and help brighten a child’s day in an instant. Pure genius!
Being the boho beach yogis that we are, practice begins on the sands allowing us to draw on the power of the ocean. We begin by a brief meditation followed by a series of stretches, easing into some gentle poses before attempting the more challenging ones. The experience is incredible yet also surprising, in regards to the amount of energy and exertion necessary to hold the poses. To get into a pose, you must utilize every muscle in your body while holding that position. It becomes a lesson in trust, trusting the person holding you and, most importantly, trusting in yourself. This extends far beyond the exercise itself as you must let go of the ego and foster a deep connection with your partner. This is key to fostering inner confidence as well as integrity with yourself. It’s always a matter of internal and external alignment.
Having practiced with several poses, it’s time for a well deserved break. Runa Teas, is my drink of choice. I love that Runa means “fully alive” as it’s the perfect metaphor at this place in my life. Runa sent me a case of their tea to give it a try and that was it. Love at first sip. As I usually defer to spring water, this was an awesome find to have a healthy drink with a powerful mission behind it. Runa comes from indigenous tribes in the Amazon with every intention of protecting the rainforest and to help indigenous farming families through sustainable farming. They use Guayasa, a super-leaf with as much caffeine as a cup of coffee yet also loaded with twice the polyphenols of similar green tea products, that’s the “good stuff” in green tea. The Guava and Lime flavors were out of this world. We found it to be lively and refreshing. The perfect break for the two of us.
Amanda and I both adore Alo Yoga. Having lusted over these white moto leggings, I finally took the plunge and bought a pair, which I paired with a coral tank from Lululemon. Amanda is in head to toe Alo Yoga attire, leggings and tank, which tends to be the go to brand for many yogis around here. I can see why as you’re guaranteed to feel beautiful whenever you wear this brand.
So, are you ready to stretch your limits? I highly recommend giving it a try. If nothing else, it’s a great way to play, to let go and not take yourself too seriously. Grab a towel and a partner. Prepare yourself for immense joy as well as a tumble or two. And, if you’re in the Southbay of LA, head on over to Yogaloft in Manhattan Beach and meet Amanda. Love at first sight. Guaranteed!