Acro Yoga finds a community in Madison

The Madison Acro Yoga community provides a space for those interested in the art of acro yoga, the combination of acrobatics and yoga.
A group of five people practice acrobatics and yoga outside by the Memorial Union.
Photo by Richard Barker
The Madison Acro Yoga community encourages anyone interested in the art to give it a try.

While you’ve probably heard of yoga and of acrobatics, you may be unfamiliar with acro yoga. The practice combines acrobatics and yoga to create a peaceful, flowing atmosphere that is present in both the exercises done but also the community that is built up around it.  

In Madison, there’s a Madison Acro community cultivated through 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 as a group, so the more the merrier,” says Barker. “It creates positive feedback loops so the more you play together the better everyone gets at flying.”  

As of now, the Madison Acro Facebook page has more than 650 members. Erin Rhoads, who moderates the page, has been a part of the community for about five years.  

Her first introduction was through a “jam” on the square, an informal meet-up. Rhoades shares that many people learn through jams, but some people will go to classes or conventions across the country and share the knowledge with the group later on.  

“It’s an extremely welcoming group of people,” says Rhoads. The group meets through new jams or see if anyone wants to “play.” In acro yoga, the verb “play” is used to signal people interested in getting together to do acro yoga. “It’s very common for giggle fits and it’s a joyful activity,” says Rhoads.  

Acro yoga in Madison is focused on providing a space for those interested to practice the art. Rhoads says that like most hobbies, you make “great friends” and people “learn a lot about each other, 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 personal favorite things about acro yoga are: the absolutely delightful humans I meet, learning about how bodies work and the strong statement that it’s play,” says Rhoads.  

The participants gather throughout the year, and weather permitting they practice outside and tend to meet more frequently in warmer months. During the winter, most of the jams are held at Madison Circus Space. Rhoads shares that most acro yoga communities are unstructured.

“My only goal is to help more people get to experience it, as currently it’s a hobby or pass time that is often seen off as being on the fringe of society much like yoga as a couple of decades ago,” says Barker.

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