Communicating in a clear & loving way is super valuable when it comes to AcroYoga. And yes: when it comes to being a human being too! So how can you upgrade your communication skills? And in which way do they improve your AcroYoga practice?(and life ;) )
1. Practice 3 rounds without words
You just saw an amazing AcroYoga flow on YouTube and want to practice it with your partner. You watch it together and give it a shot.
After one round you both have your feedback ready:
“You should bend your leg more”
“You should straighten your arms”
“I need more support here”
“You didn’t catch me there”
After exchanging feedback you try it again, but now you have so many guidelines to focus on that you start to overthink. And that’s not helping at all. Sound familiar?
Here’s what to do:
Try three rounds without speaking.
You always need to warm up, tune in to each other and let your body get used to new movements. It’s called calibrating ;) Besides, your partner probably already feels what he or she can improve.
So before you mention all the things that could be better, give yourself and your buddy some space. Let it fail. Trust the process. And then give each other some feedback.
2. Mention what’s going right
Besides giving compliments on a regular basis, it’s really smart to mention something that’s going right before giving feedback to improve a certain skill.
Yes, just like the good old sandwich method. Only instead of three layers: praise - feedback to improve - praise, I believe two is enough during AcroYoga. We are training and don’t want to overdo it ;)
So: praise - feedback to improve (butter + peanut butter, without cucumber ;)).
Why? Because you want to empower your partner. An empowered person is not only a happier AcroYogi, a positive mindset will help improve your skills sky-high!
Just think of your base or flyer only mentioning what you can improve and forgetting that there are loads of things going super well. Usually, it’s not very uplifting...
So whenever you see everything that’s ‘going wrong’ and can’t wait to give your partner feedback on how to improve, just take a deep breath.
And shift your attention to what’s going well. Also: remember where your partner and you as an AcroYoga couple came from! Remember the time when a Front Bird felt super wobbly, or you couldn’t jump into a Star? Or just a few rounds ago, when the trick didn’t work at all?
Look at where you are now.
Focus on how you have improved. Mention the progress.
Especially when you’re training often and getting better at AcroYoga, you can get the tendency to only focus on improvement.
But it’s about the journey, not the destination, remember?
3. Ask for what you need
“You bent your arms”
“You didn’t catch my foot on time”
“You're arching your body a lot”
What happens if somebody tells you what you’re doing ‘wrong’? Besides probably feeling crappy, you don’t know what you should do.
Especially during the pose or trick receiving feedback on what you shouldn't do can be very confusing. So, if you’re giving feedback: try to ask your partner for what you need!
I know, it can be hard. Especially when you feel like you’re about to drop your flyer, or your bases’ feet are creating skin burn in your hip crease (all flyers know that problem ;)). Just see it as practice.
So “You bent your arms” becomes “Can you straighten your arms?”
“You didn’t catch my foot on time” transforms into “Can you try to grab my foot when we turn?”
“You're arching your body a lot” turns into “Can you try to hollow your body?”
An even nicer way of asking for what you need is using the words: “You can help me by…” That way you're focussing on improvement, instead of addressing a ‘mistake’.
Asking for what you need is a super valuable practice. In AcroYoga and in daily life.
Can you imagine how your relationships overall can improve when asking for what you need, instead of mentioning what you don’t want?
We can even take it a step further. In the law of attraction, you get what you focus on, so then practicing this tip can even be life changing ;)
One tip at a time
Ask for one adjustment/improvement at a time. So: one tip per round. The clearer you are, the easier it becomes for your buddy to adjust to your feedback.
4. Speak in terms of “we”
If you don’t know what you need yet, it can be handy to pinpoint a pitfall first. In that case, consider this: it takes two to tango. Like in every relationship it’s easy to blame the other when things aren’t going well. It’s always harder to look at ourselves.
But if your flyer is arching his back, just consider the possibility that he’s doing that to compensate for your poor foot placement.
So when giving feedback, see if you can switch your language to terms of “we”, instead of “you”.
Example: “I notice that we lose our connection here”.
Feel the difference?
5. Ask how you can help your base or flyer
Last, but definitely not least. If you notice a pitfall: instead of asking for what you need, you can also ask your buddy what he or she needs.
“How can I help you with that?”
This way of communicating will improve your practice & relationship(s) big time, because you stay out of blaming and open yourself up to learn how you can improve.
Now it’s time to put these tips into practice. Step by step! Take your time to integrate them. Play with one tip at a time and see how it improves your practice.
Do you have anything to add? We’re curious about your experience!
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