Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Hundred Monkeys in Haarlem

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There were thirty-nine AcroYoga teachers and teachers-soon-to-be at the Dutch Acrobatic Festival and over a hundred AcroYogis from London, Germany, Boston, Amsterdam, New York, and more places to innumerable to count. I felt a little nervous, but well prepared as I arrived in Haarlem on a gorgeous blue sky day. I had spent the last five days in Amsterdam training in acrobatics with my teachers (Jenny and Jason) exploring the city, eating cheese and croissants, connecting or reconnecting with other teachers and simply falling in love with the city. And bikes– I had no idea there could be such an incredible sense of freedom in a city. Every moment in motion on my cow-spotted bike was one of glorious happiness.

I was so intensely and creatively inspired by everything: the workshops, the layout, the high level of safety, and the intense level of training, focus and technique in combination. I took it slow and easy, spending a lot of time observing, experimenting, standing on my hands, sleeping and doing it all over again. There was something for everyone no matter your age or experience level. I am coming to the conclusion, that Acrobats are a different animal than the AcroYogi, although it is possible to transform. I like what I refer to as the acroyogi way, “building a foundation slowly and surely step-by-step”, whereas the acrobats were literally jumping onto my hands. ( My life is continually surprising me, and maybe I will be there next year.)

I also felt a sense of coming back to the roots of what I practice and teach, I was struck with a memory of what I was told when I was studying creative writing, “there are no new stories under the sun. It is only in the way you tell them”. There is a precarious balance that is easy to fall from if you don’t know where you come from. The components of AcroYoga for example (Thai Massage, Yoga and Acrobatics) are each thousands of years old from around the globe. I realized more clearly, that there is nothing truly new in what we do, but how we do it, fold it together and share it. It is empowering, as a teacher-practitioner to see how the founders of both AcroYoga and CircusYoga have taken ancient, primordial lineages of movement and play, codified them, given accessible structure through common vocabulary and pedagogy, and that the circle of inclusion is growing exponentially. Coming back to this rooted place, allows me to let go of any sense of ego and focus on the simple intentions of: playful exploration and unconditional sharing.

A couple days after I returned, I was playing in the park with some friends. Two of them wanted to share a “new sequence”. I was excited and inspired that it closely resembled, in that same-same-but-different-kind-of-way one of my favorite new sequences that I had learned in Haarlem. I couldn’t help thinking about the Hundredth Monkey Theory (http://www.wowzone.com/monkey.htm) and critical mass. It all makes me wonder if we are exploring a realm bigger than we can comprehend in these joyful physical practices.

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