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Ever wondered how Jennifer Aniston always manages to look so lean and how Matthew McConaughey keeps those pecs in shape? Well, in part, it’s down to their yoga sessions and while we all know yoga has been a celeb-friendly pastime for decades, Acro Yoga has brought a new spin to the standard downward dog and Sun worship. Ahlan! headed to Safa Park where instructor Stanley Norris, along with a variety of experienced teachers, hosts weekly classes as part of a community project. Here he gives us the low down on the practice…
What is Acro Yoga?
Acro Yoga is a synthesis of acrobatics, yoga and Thai massage. Acro Yoga promotes trust, playfullness and connection with selves, others and oneness in a practice that is pleasurable, and engaging. Those who practice it need not have any yoga experience just a decent amount of flexibility, core strength and body awareness.
The physical benefits are plentiful including strengthening of muscles, increasing core strength – believe us you use stomach muscles you never knew you had – and corrects posture.
Acro Yoga is generally a group based practice with many partner assisted positions making the session more interactive and fun as the group supports and connects with each other. Each session starts and ends with three ohm chants, while many novices will laugh at this it actually helps send vibrations through the body, bringing it to harmony. One of the most important steps of this Acro Yoga is the warm up. There are many different stretching postures that allow the body to warm up before going into Acro’s famous flying postures which test core strength, balance and stability.
Stanley Norris runs Open Air Yoga (Openairyoga.com). As a community based project there’s no price but donations are welcome and given to charity – last month alone they raised over Dhs3,000. Classes run every Friday morning in Safa Park (go through entrance 2 and head toward the bouncy castle area. Get there 15mins early). Acro Yoga starts at 10am and different volunteer instructors run a session each week. Stanley, who has over 10 years experience, insists, “Come down, have fun, get fit and give to charity in the process.”