Acroyoga Poses for Beginners [17 Videos]

Acroyoga Reverse Shoulder Stand

Acroyoga Reverse Shoulder Stand

In our recent article, we presented an introduction to acroyoga, emphasizing its awesome benefits. Here we begin the practical side of learning acroyoga, by demonstrating the easiest acroyoga poses for beginners that are the most accessible. Besides our own videos, we also include links to some of the best acroyoga training available on the Internet, when relevant.

The videos are organized in progressive order of difficulty. It is very important that both partners have warmed up and stretched beforehand to avoid injuries.

A1- Jedi Box

Here, the base lies on the ground with arms vertically raised. The flyer takes a plank position with hands on the base’s ankles, and feet into the base’s hands. To form the Jedi box, both bend using their abdominals, in a synchronized manner, and hold. They return to the starting position.

Watch out to move in synchrony, otherwise one person will feel the strain of trying to bend the other person into the Jedi box frame. Other than that, this is a very safe pose, since it is low to the ground. For more details on doing the Jedi box, and also the Jedi crawl, check out Super Dave here (Note: By clicking such external links, you’ll be taken to YouTube, and to return to read this article, you will need to find your browser again!)

A2- Feet-to-Hamstrings

The base lies on the ground with legs bent over the torso. The flyer steps on the hamstrings, and looks to find balance.

This pose is also quite safe, since the flyer can easily hop off. Be careful that the flyer’s weight is not too much for the base’s back, e.g. with the flyer putting only some of the weight initially. It takes a high ceiling to do the volcano pose, i.e. mountain pose with arms extended above!

A3- Feet-to-Shins

Very similar to feet-to-hamstrings, but requires more concentration to achieve steady balance. Check out Super Dave’s video on feet-to-shins variations. It is not difficult, we were able to do all of it on our first attempt!

A4- Hand-Assisted Bird (Front Plank)

The next 4 videos show different aspects of the quintessential acroyoga pose: Bird.

The main danger with Bird is for the flyer to fall face down. This has never happened to us. We can imagine this could be a pretty bad fall, hence it is worth having several mechanisms to ensure it doesn’t happen, mentioned later as we go along.

The first video introduces a very safe way of getting into bird, by holding hands. This strongly prevents the flyer from falling face down. Once you feel confident, you can begin releasing the hands. Then it’s the base’s toes that ensure the flyer will not fall forward.

Falling backward is no problem, since the flyer lands on feet. Falling sideways could happen if the base’s legs are unevenly placed or bent. Then the flyer needs the reflex to land on one foot, which comes fairly naturally.

A5- Folded Leaf Variations

Folded leaf is reached from hand-assisted bird by the base opening out the feet, and the flyer simply bends down. It is a relaxing position with many variations. We demonstrated a few, but you can find a more detailed tutorial here.

A6- Free Bird Mount

The trick with mounting into free bird cleanly is for the base to do a deep leg press as the flyer falls down, and then lift straight up. The flyer needs to hold a strong core.

A7- Free Bird Presses

From bird, one can build strength and balance by doing leg presses. The deeper the press, the more strength and balance are required.

A8- Throne Mount and Saddle Throne

The next three videos are about throne, saddle throne and the high flying whale, which are the main elements of the first beginner flow routine that we learned. We also recommend this AcroNoga video on throne, saddle throne and reverse saddle throne.

Throne mount is easiest, because it is a very stable position, and the flyer can easily hop off. The flyer might need to stand on toes in order to mount, unless the base is very flexible in the hips and ankles.

A9- Throne to High Flying Whale

From throne, the flyer can bend backwards as the base brings one foot at a time behind the flyer’s back for support. This requires the flyer to distribute weight evenly on the 3 remaining support points. The reverse, from whale to throne, is a bit more difficult, requiring more balance. See this video for more details.

A10- Saddle Throne Mount

In saddle throne, the flyer’s legs are wrapped around the base’s legs, so that the flyer cannot simply hop off if something goes wrong. Fortunately, the position is quite stable. There are various ways of mounting into saddle throne, explained in more details in this one out of many other excellent videos by Super Dave.

A11- Back Bird Mount and Back Bird Bow

The next two videos are about back bird and variations. Back bird is more difficult than bird because there is no eye contact and the flyer does not see the ground, so that requires more trust.

Back bird is still quite safe, since the flyer holds onto the base’s ankles. Also, the flyer can easily hop off onto one or both feet if falling sideways or forward. The problem is with falling backwards, and to prevent that, the base must always be ready with hands on the flyer’s shoulders to stop the flyer from falling.

Here we show only the back bird bow, but for other back bird variations, check out Super Dave here.

A12- Back Bird to Straddle Bat

Straddle bat is a key position for many more advanced moves. It requires a good deal of hip flexibility for both: for the flyer to open the legs wide, and for the base to turn toes inward so as to support the flyer. We also recommend this video showing the same demonstration. Here is also one by AcroNoga.

A13- Reverse Throne Mount

The next two videos are about the reverse throne poses. Like back bird, there is no eye contact, but the positions are quite stable.

A14- Reverse Throne to Reverse Saddle Throne

This is a simple transition, to get you familiar with transitioning from reverse throne to reverse straddle throne and back.

A15- Back Bird to Reverse Shoulder Stand

In the last three videos, we introduce some more advanced material, which we hope to complement soon with a second series of videos, which will notably include the bird to shoulder stand transition. Check out the videos by AcroNoga on shoulder stand and reverse shoulder stand, and one by Super Dave on shoulder stand.

A16- Feet-to-Hands: Stand and Press

The last two videos start from the feet-to-hands position, which helps build arm and shoulder strength for the base, and the sense of balance for the flyer. In this video, helping each other, both base and flyers do arms presses.

A17- Feet-to-Hands into Reverse Saddle Throne

This video shows the transition from feet-to-hands into reverse saddle throne. For the exit, one can return to feet-to-hands.

Conclusion: Acroyoga Poses for Beginners

Here, we covered most of what could be considered the beginner’s acroyoga basics. We presented the material in short videos, to help you segmenting the material into easily learnable chunks.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you with comments and suggestions!

And if you liked our videos, a “like” on our YouTube videos will be much appreciated. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for easy access and be informed of upcoming videos.

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18 Responses to Acroyoga Poses for Beginners [17 Videos]

  1. Todd Matthews says:

    Some of these poses would definitely take a learning curve, but it’s beyond fascinating what the human body is capable of once it masters some of the basic techniques and practices of Acro Yoga. There’s a lot of balance mastery and core strengthening involved, but once one, or in this case, two, masters such basics, these poses definitely aren’t out of reach. And I like how they seem to start off very simple before adding a little bit of complexity to each. 

    • Phil says:

      Thanks Todd, as you say, acroyoga can become very circus-like and acrobatic, requiring quite a bit of prowess. On the other hand, one can start off very simple, and build skills in a step-by-step manner.

  2. Xaric says:

    I have been practicing Yoga for a year now and my girlfriend started a few months ago. I’ve never considered doing some poses as a couple but we’ll definitely try some of those.

    Acro Yoga seems kind of hard but I think that we’ll manage it after a couple of sessions since we are not complete beginners,

    Thanks a lot for the videos they are really helpful!

    • Phil says:

      Hello Xaric, 

      Yes, it can be hard, but if you start small and learn your limits, you’ll discover that it is a wonderful form of exercise, you will both improve, and so will your communication with your partner. 

  3. Abagatan says:

    I often times watch Yoga but I myself cannot do it due to health issues. I see these different poses are being used by dance groups and in contests.

    Am I correct in my understanding that Yoga is a way of communicating to self, to the one outside the self and it’s a way of attaining peace.  Could it also enhance health?

    • Phil says:

      Hello Abagatan, 

      I am very sorry to hear about your health issues, but did you know that yoga can be adapted to many different conditions and impairments? For example, Lyne taught yoga classes to groups of seniors in the 60-80yo age range. The classes for one group were entirely in the seated position, and focused on breathing. For the other group, some basic traditional yoga poses were introduced, but the focus was of course not on performance, but rather on health and well-being. 

      Yes, yoga in a way of communicating with oneself, and improving this communication, and of communicating between partners for acroyoga, and also improving it. As these disciplines are excellent for relaxation, they are also ideal methods for increasing inner peace. The health benefits are numerous too!

  4. Queen says:

    Oh my goodness! It does get harder as it progresses. My partner won’t stop pressuring me into giving acro yoga a try, so I decided to really take a look at what it feels like.

    I can see from your list, that it really does get harder as one progresses, but I am glad it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be when he tried to educate me on what it’s all about.

    I am glad you actually included videos in this article, this will help me know what and how exactly to get started, atleast the first 3 to 4 poses aren’t too difficult to master, and hopefully starting with them we can then proceed to the more difficult ones.

    N:B: The videos did play on your site, they didnt take me to youtube and that was really great.

    Cheers.

    • Phil says:

      Thanks, it’s the external videos from top performers of acroyoga that will take you away from my page, while our videos are embedded in the page.

      Yes, we did put the exercises in what felt to us as an increasing level of difficulty, and in the order that we were eventually able to do them. 

      You are quite right about not pressuring yourself, or not letting your partner pressure you.

      We are hoping to put together another article as an introduction to this one, with easier poses still. Until then, yes, please start with only the first few poses until you develop your confidence! 

       

  5. Riaz Shah says:

    Loving this list Phil,

    Feet-to-Hamstring and Feet-to-shins look really easy to do and it looks very comfortable too, I think I need that pressure stretch on my legs. I can imagine doing that already, for these two poses, the stretch goes all the way to our back and spinal cords section too right? 

  6. Tim says:

    Hi Phil good job on the article!

    I like how you made a video for each pose and also had a description, I think some of the poses are a bit too hard for beginners, assuming they have never practiced any yoga before. Some of these poses actually look really hard and intimidating.

    Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

  7. Chris says:

    I have been looking into Yoga recently, and these videos certainly help, but I am wondering at what level they are – they seem a little pro to me and I’m not sure I’m up to these yet. 

    Which out of the video techniques above would you recommend to a beginner like myself, who may be a little worried about taking on something too advanced?

    • Phil says:

      Hi Chris, on the one hand, they are really very beginner-level exercises in acroyoga, very far from the pro level! On the other hand, I agree that without an instructor and a spotter, they can be intimidating! So how to find a middle ground is a very valid question. 

      We are planning recordings of much more basic exercises, so that will be coming soon. In the meanwhile, I think this one video is very basic: 

      . Also, if you look up Tim Ferriss’s acroyoga videos, they are also very elementary. Hope this helps. 

  8. Stella says:

    Whao, I must say this a an advance Yogi practice of our time. Those yoga poses am doing are not yoga atal because they are not as complex as this. I will love to try this Free Bird Pressesbl with my partner first. People with high weight will not be a blessing to perform many of this styles. Am I correct? If yes, what’s the maximum weight one need to acquire before putting these acro yoga poses into practice?

    • Phil says:

      Hello Stella, when using a proper bone-stacking technique, the base is capable of carrying quite a large weight. I have seen examples like this. But the best is to start slowly with progressive exercises. We will soon add more basic exercises than the ones here, and we will keep you in mind to address your concerns. Stay tuned!

  9. My Daily Pointers says:

    It is really amazing how you balance and hold your position so strong to the ground without falling. These positions would be no doubt difficult for a starter like me. I just sent this article to one of my friends who’s been doing Acro Yoga for some time now and I’m sure she will learn some more.

    I’m still going to give some of these positions a try. Thinking of starting off with the Throne Mount because it is most stable of all and definitely would be easiest for me.

    Please keep these trainings coming.

    Thanks!

    • Phil says:

      Thanks very much for your feedback! Yes, the Throne mount is a great starting point, because it is very solid and stable. Looking forward to seeing you back and with questions!

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