Imagine you’re upside down in a headstand, handstand or a pose like star...
And someone asks you: ‘could you rotate your hips to the right, shift your weight a bit to the left and move your butt back’.
Would you be able to translate those cues into the right movement?
As a flyer I want to share with you my personal experience on how I feel my body awareness influences my practice.
But first; what is body awareness?
I would describe it as how conscious and connected you are to your own body.
Basically it’s how you recognize where your body is in space.
The ability to notice the position and movement of body parts and to direct it to do what you want it to do.
This all comes with a strong mind-body connection.
Everyone has some level of body awareness thanks to the receptors in our muscles and joints that we are born with.
They inform our brain about our position and movement in space.
The body is already very intelligent and our body awareness only grows over time...
Think of children who get more coordinated while getting older.
Going from rolling around, to crawling, to stumbling, to walking and more...
That's simply because nearly any type of physical exercise and movement, can and will increase your body awareness!
Movement challenges your body and trains your balance, coordination and precision.
Ok so as grown adults we have a decent amount of body awareness.
You can probably balance on one foot, walk backwards, jump or skip and can follow instructions like ‘place your left hand on your right shoulder’.
So you probably think you have a decent orientation in space and know what left and right is.
You find yourself upside down and feel completely lost in what’s left, right, forward and backward!
I’ve often seen, mostly beginner flyers, saying when they are upside down:
‘I don’t know where I am or which way to move!’
People react surprised by this unexpected change in the way they experience their surroundings and their body.
It's Funny right?
How being upside down suddenly makes things that you normally take for granted much more difficult!
Luckily for me I didn’t experience a big change in my perception the first times when I was upside down in acro, and I think this had to do with two things.
I’m born with a very sensitive body (and a sensitive heart and soul too).
I notice sensations and impulses very well.
Both external stimuli like sounds, touch, temperature and smell as internal stimuli like thirst, muscle tension and tiredness.
With this body I’ve done a lot of exercise and grew up practicing different kind of sports.
This helped me develop and enhance my body awareness.
Over time I grew a strong mind-body connection which enables me on a very detailed level to direct and control my body.
I can isolate certain muscles and make micro movements.
In acro, this means when someone gives me cues to move in a specific way I’m able to translate these words into adjustments in my body.
A challenging part will be the shapes and moves we flyers do when literally flying around and being upside down.
I’m pretty sure my background in martial arts helped me grow awareness in these moments.
Because of all the falling and rolling that’s involved in judo and aikido.
So if you struggle or find body awareness a challenge in acro, and are keen on improving in this way to level up your acro...
Then I would recommend practicing other sports and explore different movements than your body is used to.
Challenge your balance while skipping or standing on one foot on a bosu ball. Or take it next level and try slacklining!
Try rolling forwards, backwards and sideways; remember you used to do that as a kid? Go to a gym with a soft floor and see if you make your roll smooth and easy.
Join a dance class
Take martial arts lessons
There are so many things you can do! And they will all only help build your body awareness.
Last tip: try acro with your eyes closed of blindfolded!
With no sight it will change your perspective for sure.
As always: play safe ;) and enjoy!
If you want to really improve your acro practice, learn more, or attend one of our retreats and events, then these are the best ways I can help you :)
1. You can learn about our product The AcroBack and order your very own here:
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3. If you want to stay updated about our retreats, festival, and workshop events then our AcroSpirit Community Facebook Group is the best place to check.