Jen Cameron can teach you to fly. She’s not a pilot, though, or even a skydiving instructor. Acroyoga, a blend of acrobatics, yoga and Thai massage, is her specialty. “Flying” is being held aloft by a base partner’s legs or arms. Denver’s Awaken Gymnastics serves as Cameron’s primary classroom, but Sunday, May 18 sees her leading an Acroyoga Fundamentals workshop at the Hilltop location of Kindness Yoga. 303 Magazine rendezvoused with Cameron recently to discuss her background, being a late bloomer in the movement arts and getting certified to fly.
What is your movement arts background?
I love that you ask this question about “movement arts.” I love it because I wouldn’t say I have any background in movement as an art. I was born extremely clumsy and lacking in grace. I always felt awkward in my own body with poor posture and low self-confidence. I did gymnastics and ballet as a very young girl but it didn’t inspire anything beautiful or artistic out of my body. I later got into running and honestly didn’t love that either, but I happened to be okay at it. Tightness in my hips and hamstrings began to get in the way so my mom took me to yoga classes at the age of 13. And although we were both pretty clumsy in that class as well, we loved how it made us feel. My love for yoga continued on into my 20s and eventually into a 200 hour teacher training. Even then, I didn’t feel that my movements were anything of beauty or grace. One day in a class, I found that using my strength to move slowly allowed me to feel graceful. I remember closing my eyes and focusing on how my grace felt in my body. That major shift started to bring me into a new direction with my yoga and coincided with learning acroyoga. Moving with grace in this practice involves a balance of strength and flexibility. For me, acroyoga is an art in movement that I am always expanding in as it is limitless in its nature.
When did you first discover acroyoga?
My first acroyoga class was in 2010 at Samadhi with Jenny and Phil, who no longer teach in Denver. It was a fun workshop for beginners that ended in Thai massage. After that, acroyoga fell off my radar until a few years later. I attended another one-off workshop with Raj at Kindness and had a blast. That’s when I began actively searching for all things acro and discovered Yuki in Boulder. I went to every workshop she had, met others in Denver to play with regularly and was hooked.
How did you go about getting certified to teach?
When I got into acroyoga it had never occurred to me to do the teacher training. At the end of my first Acroyoga Immersion, I had no plans to teach but was dedicated to my practice. Then one day a light, or more like fireworks, started going off in my head, and heart. What if I applied? Would I get in? All of a sudden, it felt like the right thing to do at the right time. Nearing the application deadline for the twelfth acroyoga teacher training, I contacted two of my teachers with these questions. I received support and encouragement, which filled me with so much excitement and sent me in the right direction.
Applying to acroyoga teacher training is a process of demonstrating your dedication to the practice and the desire to teach. The prerequisites include (but are not limited to) being a certified yoga teacher (or have some comparable 200 hour training), attending at least two of the three AcroYoga Immersions and having regular practice. The training itself is a live-in immersion of 160 hours, totaling over 240 with the prerequisite immersions.
First Flight: Acroyoga Fundamentals takes place at the Hilltop location of Kindness Yoga on Sunday, May 18 at 2 pm. For further information, https://www.facebook.com/events/457984747668842/ or KindnessCollective.com/events-workshops
George Peele enjoys dancing on stilts and delivering Custom Singing Telegrams. He is a contributing writer for 303 Magazine and a freelancer for Vegas Seven. Follow Peele on Twitter: @Orangepeelmoses. Avatar image courtesy Jonathan Shoup.