We talk to Stacey Nelson, an acroyoga and yoga instructor based in the Sunshine Coast. Stacey has been teaching acroyoga since 2008 and like many acroyogis, her discovery of acroyoga came from a love of yoga first. She was one of the first certified AcroYoga teachers in Australia, and you might remember her appearances on TV or her teaching at Australian festivals like Woodford folk festival.
AF: How did you discover and get into acro?
SN: I attended a series of workshops with AcroYoga co-founder Jenny Saur Klein in 2008 in her first Australian visit. I had already been teaching yoga for three years at this point and was just looking for something that was fun to do for myself. Having been a gymnast as a child, the acrobatic component of acroyoga appealed to me. At the end of the workshop Jenny spoke about the teacher training course in California, USA later that year and mentioned that there were no certified teachers in Australia. My heart said “YES”. And so three months later I was on the other side of the world learning from the co-creators of the practice and came back as one of the first four certified AcroYoga teachers in Australia, along with Gwyn Williams & Tanya Zappala.
AF: What made you want to teach?
SN: Acroyoga was a container to hold the modalities I loved to share- yoga, acrobatics and the healing arts. It creates a wonderful metaphor for teaching about life, especially: trust; conscious communication and how to relate to others.
AF: In your experience, what’s the best way for beginners to improve their acro quickly? Or an alternative, how did you improve quickly?
SN: Foundations, foundations, foundations. All of the higher level skills are drawn from the foundational skills. I find all too often, that many beginners try and rush off into complex skills when they haven’t yet mastered the basics. I frequently observe poorly aligned; unsafe and unsteady acroyoga practices, because their body is simply not prepared for it. My advice it so to be patient and humble enough at the start of the practice to focus the first few months on really nailing the basic poses and foundational skills (eg. bone stacking; safe joint care; core control whilst inverted). This would then allow them to execute higher level skills with much more safety, ease and confidence.
AF: What are you working on personally in your acro practice?
SN: Basing! Teaching acroyoga to kids and teens means I do a LOT of basing. Flying comes easily to me, but basing requires practice!
You can find out more about Stacey at her website.
Editor’s note: Please note that AcroYoga/acroyoga is spelled differently when it refers to the international brand or the generic practice.