Acro Yoga finds a community in Madison

Although you’ve probably heard of yoga and acrobatics, you may not be familiar with acro yoga. The practice combines acrobatics and yoga to create a peaceful and flowing atmosphere that is present both in the exercises performed but also in the community that is built around it.

In Madison, there is a cultured Madison Acro community across the Madison Acro Facebook page, created by Richard Baker to find a group of people interested in this specific art form.

This form of relaxation is best practiced in a group, so the more the merrier,” says Barker. “It creates positive feedback loops, so the more you play together, the better everyone gets in flight.”

To date, the Madison Acro Facebook page has over 650 members. Erin Rhoads, who moderates the page, has been with the community for about five years.

His first introduction was through a “jam” in the square, an informal meeting. Rhoades shares that many people learn through jams, but some people will go to classes or conventions around the country and share their knowledge with the group later.

“They’re an extremely welcoming group of people,” says Rhoads. The band meets through new jams or sees if anyone wants to “play”. In acro yoga, the verb “to play” is used to signal people interested in coming together to do acro yoga. “It’s very common for giggles and it’s a joyous activity,” says Rhoads.

Acro yoga in Madison focuses on providing a space for those who wish to practice the art. Rhoads says that like most hobbies, you make “great friends” and people “learn a lot about each other, about themselves, and how they work with people.” Similar to other forms of yoga and acrobatics, people also gain body awareness and can practice motor skills.

“My favorite things about acro yoga are: the absolutely lovely humans I meet, the learning about how the body works, and the strong affirmation that it’s a game,” says Rhoads.

Participants gather throughout the year and, weather permitting, they practice outdoors and tend to meet more frequently in the warmer months. During the winter, most jams take place at Madison Circus Space. Rhoads shares that most acro yoga communities are unstructured.

“My only goal is to help more people experience it, as it is currently a pastime or pastime that is often considered to be on the fringes of society, a much like yoga a few decades ago,” says Barker.