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Love and Lifting: Why Acroyoga Is Saving My Dating Life

Body contact. Trust. Communication. Surrender. Playfulness. Eye gazing…


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Turns out the not-so-secret formula to mastering the art of Acroyoga is pretty much the equivalent of that of a successful relationship. I don't know about you, but I've got all the classic issues, yet when it comes to Acroyoga, which literally combines the physical practice of acrobatics and yoga while throwing another person into the mix, I've somehow (and in a very short time) managed to have better communication and a greater sense of trust. For the first time I was able to surrender myself fully to someone who I'd practically just met, letting him try a move on me called the "throne," something only my (now ex) boyfriend of four years would have been allowed to try.

I'm not sure why or how I hadn't been exposed to Acroyoga before, but I'd say it's probably because Miami's yoga community is just now beginning to mushroom and harden. Plus, engaging in Acroyoga is like going to fourth base on a first date (or attempting crow pose your first time in a yoga class): bloodcurdling and awkward.

For the first time I was able to surrender myself fully to someone who I'd practically just met, letting him try a move on me called the 'throne.'

Whether you're trying to play the field or you're simply becoming more aware of your own body, you can take your practice to the next level with the hottest Slacroduo couple in the game: Hottest Trainer contestant Megan Newmans and her husband Rob. They teach at Trio Yoga in Wynwood every Monday at 8pm and at Mindfit 305 in Kendall on Wednesdays at 7:45pm.

Megan, a competitive cheerleader turned fitness instructor, first discovered acro during a teacher training session in Hawaii and became immediately hooked. When she flew back to Miami, she started taking Trio Yoga owner Arianne Traverso's workshops at The Standard and her classes at Ironflower Fitness. When she met her now husband Rob at a volleyball game on the beach five years ago, he'd never taken a yoga class in his life, although he admits he's into sports.

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"Our first real date alone was a yoga class," he says. "The first two times we'd hung out in a group I had to leave to go to acro at Ironflower and he kept asking me 'what is this acro thing' so the following week I asked him to go," adds Megan. The rest, as they say, is history.

Cute side note: Just this April they got married on the beach. Rob wore teal Converse sneakers. Megan, a jeweled headpiece and short dress. And yes, there was Acroyoga at the reception.

Whereas in yoga my mind tends to wander and allow thoughts to creep in, with acro there is no room to focus on anything else but the moment at hand.

"I definitely think acro provided a solid foundation for our romantic relationship," says Megan. "It was something fun and playful that we did together and the basic principles are trust, communication, and most importantly connection, so our whole relationship simultaneously developed as our practice did."

Interestingly enough, the duo attributes 90 percent of their education to YouTube. "We went to classes and workshops to perfect it, but we really learned by watching videos and breaking down the moves with pillows all around us," says Rob.

Ironically, my first acro experience involved YouTube too. Said friend and I (who I'd done regular yoga with in the past) were taking a bike trip through the park when we saw a few peeps doing handstands on each other and naturally thought, "We can totally do this." And we did. In just 30 minutes we were able to get the logistics of "throne" down. Now I too am hooked.

Perhaps it's because acroyoga forces me to deal with the biggest challenges I still face with yoga after two years: balance, focusing on my breath and only my breath, less thinking, more feeling. See, when working with another person to defy gravity, having a keen awareness of where you exist in space (AKA finding the balance point) is vital to you not kissing the floor. And whereas in yoga my mind tends to wander and allow thoughts to creep in, with acro there is no room to focus on anything else but the moment at hand. It gives you no other option but to be fully present. Isn't that kind of the goal of life, anyways?

As for the whole less thinking, more feeling thing, that's still very much a work in progress, one that I work on every Monday with Rob and Megan as they introduce an ever-changing group of around ten to a slew of new moves and washing machines (yogi slang for an acrobatic series of poses to create a cyclical flow), which range from beginner to advanced. I'll admit, though; it's been quite a stimulating challenge to allow myself to not think or question my newfound thoughts for my Acroyoga partner and just go with whatever it is my body is feeling. I believe the term here is yoga breakthrough.

Maybe gazing into each other's eyes is next.