Relocating to Florida, Tash learned to surf and paddleboard around the same time she began power yoga. Waiting for a set of waves to roll in she began playing around with headstands and balances in the ocean. Fast forward a few years and Tash is the only instructor currently teaching yoga in the open ocean. She is continually pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved on a paddleboard and now offers Acro Yoga classes for individuals and groups in south Florida.
What exactly is Acro Yoga?
Acro yoga is the mixing of yoga and acrobatics together. It requires more than just yourself to do a pose, it takes teamwork, communication and trust. The cool thing about Acro yoga is that as you learn to support others, you end up allowing yourself to be supported. This is a fundamental of trust: take control by letting go. One must give to receive and vice versa, it's the same as in life too!
How did you get into Acro Yoga?
I grew up in a large family and always played team sports (college basketball) so instantly I was drawn to Acro Yoga and working with others. I also love learning and challenging myself. I saw it as a new challenge and learning experience.
Are there any special benefits of doing Acro versus traditional yoga?
The benefit of bonding with others and building trust is primary. Also, you get to do poses in acro yoga that you can't do in a more traditional practice. Acro yoga can be inspiring to others, an opportunity for healing and it teaches you to step out of your comfort zone.
Do you recommend practicing on land before attempting poses in the water?
It really doesn't matter if you're doing yoga on land or sea, just do it! I recommend taking a fundamentals class to learn proper alignment, or even take a private SUP yoga lesson where you can learn modifications and board safety. As for equipment the great thing about yoga is that you can do it anytime, anywhere, no equipment needed! For SUP yoga, it's smart to have a wider board with some volume to it. Length helps but I don't like how most people, especially females, end up buying boards that are to big and heavy for them to carry, so they end up not using them at all.
SUP Yoga Acro Yoga Poses
Boat Pose- This pose strengthens the core while stretching the upper back, arms and legs. You pull on the arms while pushing on the legs. This is a great beginner Acro pose to start with to warm up the body and get a feel for the board.
Restorative Wheel Pose is restorative for the person on the bottom and energizing for the person on top. Notice how important it is to stay aligned. My hips, knees and ankles are aligned with Clara’s hips which helps with balance. This pose requires trust between both people. Communication and alignment are more important than experience.
Box Pose is also a great visual to show how important it is to stay stacked. Observe how our ankles, hands, shoulder and hips are stacked. Staying stacked gives you strength
Half Box Handstand really challenges your balance and arm strength. It’s important not to hold your breath when things get hard, but instead to breath through it. Focus your gaze on one spot and communicate. It’s fun to put fear aside, trust and see where you can take it.
Double Plank is a great beginner Acro yoga pose. Hands over ankles, ankles over shoulders. As long as you keep your shoulders in alignment with your wrist and your partner does the same
Pictures and article by Lori Griffith- Chasin a Dream Photography