Audio by Jordan Triebel
This article was originally published on KCPR.org.
Dexter Lawn is commonly known amongst students to be a central part of Cal Poly’s campus and student life. Here, students can be spotted hurrying to class, fundraising at their club booths, napping in the sunlight or taking time to hang out with friends during a busy school day.
However, among this hustle and bustle of college life, one group of people stand out among the rest: the acro yogis.
Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., a large group gathers in the center of the lawn to meditate, talk about the universe and practice acro yoga.
Acro yoga is a practice that combines acrobatics with yoga. It is usually done with a partner –– one person being the “base” on the ground and one being the “flyer” above. The base uses their arms and legs to support the flyer as they twist, contort and stretch mid-air.
Acro is a unique style of yoga and has a wide range of movements that traditional practices do not include, such as lifts.
Interdisciplinary studies junior Caedmon Krabill has been practicing acro for over a year and a half and participates on Dexter every week.
“There is a lot of stuff in acro that you cannot do in a normal flow just because you are being propped up by another human body,” Krabill said. “I enjoy the therapeutic aspects of it.”
Many yogis begin with more traditional styles of yoga, such as Hatha, Bikram, Vinyasa or Kundalini, before beginning to practice acro.
Krabil said he recognizes the benefits of having experience in other types of yoga but does not think that one necessarily needs a background or history with yoga to try basic moves in acro.
“You do not need a foundation to start acro, but it definitely helps,” Krabill said. “I would say at least one person in the equation needs to have some sort of practice.”
According to Cal Poly yoga instructor Liz Crosby, the practice is designed to fit all people –– regardless of age, size, flexibility or skill level –– and just like other styles of yoga, it is designed to improve physical, mental and spiritual health.
“You would not think it, but it is not just the physical body. There is so much more,” Crosby said. “Once you learn how to work with each other, there is so much trust that is engendered into that relationship.”
Although yoga is traditionally an individual and peaceful practice, Crosby said that the commotion of Dexter Lawn does not interfere.
“I do not mind being in a big group of people,” Crosby said. “Because I feel like all these people, even if they do not attempt it, walk by, see it and their interest is piqued.”
Krabill said they feel similarly.
“I would say [that the chaos] enhances it,” Krabill said. “I was kind of hesitant at first, but then I came out here and realized we all have a human body. It should not affect anything.”
San Luis Obispo local Veronica Bliss said that being amidst the chaos is helpful.
“Being outside is really special because you are interacting with the elements of the wind, the sun, the Earth [and] the grass, [so] the noise is not distracting,” Bliss said. “It just contributes to the general heightened vibration of the space.”
The Dexter group encourages students to come out and try acro yoga because of the benefits it can provide.
“Learning how to support yourself in your gridlines is going to be absolutely quintessential and it can be a comfortable and even blissful experience,” Crosby said. “Get out, explore and it’s completely free. So why not?”