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Photo by Ashley L. Reisner

Editor Experience: Partner Yoga Review

Written by Kelsey Dickerson, Features Editor 

Julia Rodriquez, the Spectator’s managing editor, and I arrived at a one-time partner yoga class at the Rec Center at VSU expecting to relax. What we got instead was a strenuous surprise: two-person stunting.

Acroyoga is a new, popular practice in the U.S. involving two people. One person, the base, uses their hands and feet to boost the other person, the flyer, in the air to complete a pose.

Julia and I were both out of shape and unprepared, but others in the class seemed to be in the same boat.

Coleen Kavanaugh led the class from the front of the room. She spoke loud enough that everyone could hear and was great at commanding attention. Two instructors demonstrated every pose before the participants attempted them, while Kavanaugh gave the breakdown of their movements.

The class was almost full, so we didn’t have a prime spot, but the instructors stood around the room ready to help.

The class started with a few partner yoga warm-up poses. We began by sitting back to back with our legs crossed in a half-lotus pose, and then we transitioned through to a buddy boat, which consists of sitting face to face with your partner and going into a boat pose, while your feet are pressed together and your hands are grasping your partner’s wrist. From there, we moved to an open v pose by moving our legs, still pressing our feet together, out underneath our hands. Julia and I were surprised we could pull off this pose so effortlessly.

“Oh my god, we got it!” Julia said once we were in the pose.

After flowing through the starting poses, we began the acroyoga portion of the class. Julia and I found this part frustrating because our height and build similarities put us further behind in an already first-time experience.

The poses were meant to build on one another, the first being a simple “flying” pose where the flyer is face-down, held up in the air by the hands and feet of the base; the flyer braces their hands on the hands of the base, elbows locked, while the base’s feet are pressed into the flyer’s hips. We struggled with this pose, and the next, a version where the flyer tilts their body downward, but we were determined to get every pose

right. If the time in each position had not been limited, we probably would have continued until we were exhausted.

In the end, we tried out about six different poses. A few were variations of the first pose, one was backwards and the others were “sitting” poses, where the flyer sat on the feet of the base, and the base lifted them into the air using their legs.

The “sitting” positions were the most difficult, and I was unsure if I could lift Julia with just the power of my legs. (Did I mention I’m out of shape?) One of the workers in the class noticed my struggle and came over to encourage me, and I lifted Julia up in what would become our favorite pose. I was so surprised by the strength I didn’t know I had. It made the whole class worth it.

In the end, we were at our limit and were extremely relieved when the class wound down with stretches and massages.

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