Is there a place in the current AcroYoga world for a teacher like me? This is a question I have been seriously asking over the past year. I've been watching the practice outgrow me for years, in some ways that I am not interested in catching up to. Things change, and I can accept that. But it may mean that there is no longer a space for me and my practice.
I want to continue on in my own bubble, teaching people the beauty and depth of basic partner acrobatics, intertwining yoga movements and philosophy, and the profound bliss of therapeutic flying. Teaching in a way where ALL people feel safe and accepted and supported, where falling and injuries are simply not an option. Where reducing risk is placed above all else. In my make-believe retro-acro world, I wouldn't have the steady stream of people telling me they don't want to come to AcroYoga because they tried it once and "got dropped". Where the students never have to tell me they feel intimidated, or not good enough, because they didn't grow up in gymnastics.
I never wanted to get into performance arts, or attend a circus school, or learn terrifying (to me!) tricks to fill my social media feeds and impress others with. It was never about pushing people past their limits by constantly offering the next big skills, new material all the time, fighting the boredom and impatience of the students who want more, more, more.
Rather, it was about being present in the moment, with your body, with your breath, with your partner, with your spotter. Exploring how supported movement within a group of bodies, has so much more potential and art, than movement within one body. Teaching someone who hasn't ever done any movement practice ever, that going upside down can make you giggle with glee and remember all the giggly times of your past in one amazing rush.
We used to ask people to use "Accurate Self Assessment" regarding skill attempts, but now, more often than not, that Self-Assessment is Wildly Inaccurate. And those wildly inaccurate assessments are encouraged by people who I KNOW know better. I no longer trust experienced acroyogis to keep one another safe, to obtain proper consent, to know the right moment to call that experienced spotter over. And I've seen the injury rates sky-rocket. I've seen/heard of people I love and care for get dropped and hurt, and have it brushed off as "just part of the practice". And I feel responsible when students, to whom I personally taught the fundamentals and tried to instill respect for safety and spotting, become dangers to the community.
And so I'm out. Not totally out, Imma keep doing my own quiet teaching beginners thing. But I'm done trying to train the next big trick to teach, I'm done done hosting jams, running around trying to reduce risk for people who get off on risk. I'm done watching "advanced" teachers at Divine Play teach huge groups skills that should be learned in spotting belts in private sessions. It hurts my heart when people get hurt, I feel responsible because I am helping spread this practice, and feel like it is just a matter of time before someone in the community is paralyzed or killed. And so to keep my own integrity as a teacher, as a friend, as a human, I'm out.
<3 <3 <3