Acroyoga Terms for Beginners
Updated: Aug 21
Thinking about trying acroyoga? In this Acroyoga for Beginners Series, we offer tips on preparing for and practicing poses, photo guides, common terms used in acroyoga, and advise on where to go to get more once you inevitably get HOOKED on FLYING!
In this article
We cover basic terminology to help you get started. You'll find these useful when looking for inspiration on youtube and instagram, deciding which class or workshop to take, and in class and jams with more experienced practitioners. By familiarizing yourself with some jargon, your first practices will feel more comfortable. We hope you'll try some poses, send us pictures or tag us (@trainmoveplay on SoMe), and let us know if you have questions.
I-basing, Counter-balancing, L-basing, and Trio poses are some different ways we talk about poses.
Basic Terms in Acroyoga
Acroyogis are people who practice acroyoga.
Flyer is generally the person in the air. We encourage everyone to try flying.
Base is usually the person on the ground. We encourage everyone to try basing.
Spotter is the person(s) protecting, guiding, giving visual and tactile feedback, encouraging, and supporting the flyer and base. The spotter is crucial to safe and effective practice. We encourage everyone to try spotting – this is often the most informative role.
Poses are the positions or shapes we get into, like asana in a regular yoga practice.
Transitions are how we move from one pose to another.
Washing Machines are series of poses and transitions that end in the same place they started, we can repeat them endlessly (or until we are too exhausted to do more.)
Flows are series of poses and transitions that end somewhere different from the start, like small acroyoga dances.
Counterbalances are poses that involve weight sharing with one or both or all acroyogis on the ground and leaning into (counter-push) or away from (counter-pull) each other for support.
L-basing means the base is laying on her or his back with feet in the air.
I-basing means the base in standing upright.
Belly-basing means the base is laying on her or his belly with knees bent and feet in the air.
Jams are open practice time. This is undirected time to get help with a pose you are working on, play with some one new, play with your teachers, or just watch and catch some inspirational vibes.
Stacking, or Bone-Stack, refers to aligning the bones in a way that the weight of the pose falls into the ground, like stacking the flyer's pelvis over the base's feet and the base's feet over the base's pelvis in an L-basing pose.
Trio poses, or Trio Tricks, involve three people. They can be various combos, like 2 flyers and 1 base, 1 flyer and two bases, or a 3 way counterbalance.
Group poses is a pretty self-explanatory term! A group of people building a pose or flow together, generally four or more people.
Pop is a dynamic move where the base pushes the flyer into the air and they momentarily loose contact. We can pop from one pose back to the same pose, or from one pose to another pose.
Whip is another dynamic pose that is more like swinging from one pose to another. The flyer and base stay in contact, but use momentum and gravity to move quickly between poses.
What did we miss?
Of course there are terms we left out - let us know what they are. If you are experienced, what do you think a beginner needs to know to get started? If you are just getting started and have heard or seen a term you didn't understand, let us know what it is - maybe we can help explain.