Touch is vital. Research by The University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute indicates that actual human contact has myriad physical and emotional benefits for all age groups. In Institute studies, touch minimized pain, lowered blood glucose and improved both pulmonary and immune function. Sadly, many Americans are touch-deprived. Jen Cameron is not among them.
“Human touch releases oxytocin or the ‘cuddle horomone,’” says Cameron. “This is part of how we bond as humans and grow socially. When we’re deprived of touch, we often experience loneliness and depression. As technology gets more advanced, we seem to be less and less connected to those around us.”
Cameron is a certified AcroYoga teacher. She leads or co-leads acrobatic partner yoga classes three to five times a week. She also facilitates biweekly open practice sessions called jams. She gets her fill of human interaction action on the regular. And she helps others get their fill too. On Valentine’s weekend, she’s helming a Partner Yoga Play workshop at Denver’s Kindness Yoga.
“AcroYoga or ‘partner flying’ is when one partner uses his or her hands and/or feet to support another in a pose,” explains Cameron. “In therapeutic flying, the top partner is in a passive state, experiencing a sort of mid-air massage. Thai massage, nicknamed ‘lazy man’s yoga,’ is part of AcroYoga. The receiver is moved, stretched or massaged by the giver’s hands, feet, elbows, et cetera.”
Individuals in romantic relationships are generally less touch-deprived than most. That doesn’t mean that they can’t benefit from learning new, therapeutic ways to administer it. And couples are certainly encouraged to participate, it being Valentine’s and all. But being in an intimate pairing isn’t required to experience the immense benefits of Partner Yoga Play.
“This workshop is intended for pairs to learn together,” clarifies Cameron. “Bring any loved one you wish, whether it’s a romantic partner, a friend, family member or first date. Therapeutic flying is a great gift to share with anyone. My mom often requests a flight when I go home to visit. She and my father like to remind me that they used to fly us kids when we were little.”
Partner Yoga Play transpires February 13 and 14 at the South Broadway location of Kindness Yoga. Sunday’s workshop is sold out. For the down dog lowdown or to register, visit Kindness.