Acroyoga Community Series: These are my people
Most of us have groups of people with whom we train, move, and play. We see familiar faces at classes and jams. Maybe we have a steady training partner. But do we really, honestly live in #community with these people? If so – maybe you know why this is a worthy discussion topic. (And in future posts, we’ll give more ideas for community building tactics and projects – things both on and off the mat we can do to grow and sustain a strong community around acro.) But first, let me tell you why I find this such an important task for myself.
I moved to Denmark one year ago. This is the sixth time in my life that I have relocated to a new town where I knew only one or two people. In this case, I moved knowing only two people in the whole country and on the whole continent. I also moved to a place where I don’t speak the language or understand the communication style, I don’t understand the social customs of politeness and manners, and I have different expectations around body culture and of personal boundaries.
But I know acro.
Well, I know some acro. And I love acro. And I found a group of people with whom I can share that love.
At first it just felt nice to be able to move. And to be touched and hugged by humans when my own humans were so far away. (#skinhunger post coming soon….) Then I found I could understand some of what they were saying to each other. Before I started language school I knew words for body parts; inhale and exhale; directions, like up, forward, back; and definitely the Danish word for "Down!" ("Ned!")
After one year among these people, it came time for my birthday. I decided against hosting a party, partly because we have a tiny apartment, and also because I wasn’t actually sure people would show up. So I kept it very casual, noncommittal – a potluck style bbq in the park with some games and, naturally, some acro. I sent out an announcement about what we would be doing and where to meet and prepared for the, “So sorry but we can’t make it”s to roll in. Instead, everyone who could, came. They brought more game ideas and gave me a proper Danish birthday, complete with Kagekvinde – a cake lady – and the Danish birthday song. It was so touching and so special. I was truly, deeply moved.
Especially as adults, it can be a lonely and humbling experience to find new friends - and we NEED friends. I’ve moved enough to know that friends don’t just happen. It takes time to build relationship. It takes courage just to invite someone to be a friend. I’ve lived in places far longer than one year and not made the kind of friends I have here. And while I could possibly chalk it up to Danes being some of the happiest people on Earth, I suspect it has much more to do with the kinds of bonds we form in acroyoga.
By agreeing to play with each other, we have signed an unwritten contract to place our trust and faith in one another and to support, help and guide each other. We have agreed to listen to one another’s problems and trouble shoot them together. We have admitted fear, fatigue, and, sometimes, defeat together.
And we have CELEBRATED.
We have been practicing celebrating one another’s accomplishments, big and small, twice per week for one year. So when it comes time to celebrate something simple, like being born, there’s a general attitude of, “We got this.”
This is what having an Acroyoga Community means to me: It means I am not alone, even when “my people” are far away. I have someone to talk to, even when language is a barrier. And I have people who are willing to celebrate life with me, and who I am not scared to invite.
I can’t express my #gratitude for this group of people, who have been more than a life-line for me. And I don’t have to. All I have to do is show up and offer to spot. That’s what we do.
Have you had a similar experience? Have you found an acroyoga community a lifeline at times? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below! Spread the #acrolove