In most of the postures (both yoga and AcroYoga) your body is active to some degree. Engaging certain muscles to maintain body alignment is crucial to the overall health of your muscles and joints. Regarding muscle engagement with the complimentary poses, sometimes they are very similar to one another, and sometimes they are not. In this first review you are firing up most of the same muscles in both postures.
1. Locust (Salabasana)/ Bird
In both these poses you engage the mid to upper back as well as your core. Your hamstrings and quads are firing equally. The chest lifts up towards the sky and you are looking forward. There is also a pushing of the hips into the ground with Locust, the same in Bird, however the ground is a pair of feet. When you do Locust, remember to zip up the legs. Actively draw them together and lift up. One final tip for both poses…draw the shoulders away from the ears as you lift the chest. This will help you be strong and graceful while flying in Bird.
2. Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)/ Side Star
With these two poses, it’s mostly the body shape that’s similar. You’re using your core in both to help maintain that body shape. In Half Moon the weight is on the standing leg making it a balance posture. With Side Star the weight is on the hip, changing the balance completely. Both poses have the hips stacked, and that’s why it’s important to train Half Moon, to train the hip stack. Having that hip stack awareness and muscle engagement consciousness will help you find success in Side Star. Specific alignment and body awareness really helps dial-in both practices.
3. Tri-Pod Headstand (Sirsasana II)/ Star
Both of these poses require not only core engagement but also strong active legs. With the Tri-Pod headstand there’s more weight in the hands than in the Star position, where all the weight is on the shoulders. It’s important you do not put all the weight in your head when you’re doing a Tri-Pod headstand, but instead use your hands to really help support you. Draw your elbows in towards each other, as they will have a tendency to fall out. Training this body position gives you an excellent foundation to approach Star.
4. Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold ( Prasarita Padottanasana)/ Super Yogi
These postures are alike in body shape, but differ in muscular engagement. The Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold uses more leg activity to hold yourself up and pull your chest towards the ground, than Super Yogi does. There is some leg activity in Super Yogi to keep a shelf for your base, but it’s mostly a passive therapeutic flying posture. With the arms overhead and the chest pulling towards the ground, both poses are excellent shoulder and heart openers. Super Yogi is especially relaxing, because you have someone supporting you, rather than holding yourself up. This allows you the opportunity to fully relax into the shoulder and heart opening.
5. Mermaid (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana )/ Mermaid
Not only are these postures named the same, they are the same body position as well. In the AcroYoga pose, the flyer has to stabilize on a moving ground, aka the bases feet. The yoga pose has a stable non-moving ground, making it a little easier to relax into. Overall both these poses are very similar, they have some subtle differences, but knowledge in the yoga pose easily translates to success in the AcroYoga pose.