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Friday, Apr 27, 2018
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Acrobatic moves will send your yoga practice flying

Moses Love and Zeina Love Smidi are helping people across the country take yoga to new heights. Touring with their petite pup, Bella, in a revamped school bus that runs on vegetable oil, the couple plans to share the benefits of "acroyoga," yoga that includes acrobatic moves. Moses and Zeina's "Green Bus Project" recently stopped at Yogani Studios in South Tampa for a workshop. While it may have an exotic (and scary) sounding name, you've probably done at least one of the acroyoga moves the pair demonstrated: the Superyogi. (Otherwise known as "Superman," or simply "flying" to every kid under 8 years old.)
This partner yoga pose requires one person to be the "base," and the other the "flier." The person on the bottom lies on his back and places his feet on the flier's hip crease, supporting the flier's weight as he moves his legs to a 90-degree angle. Once the flier becomes airborne, the sky's the limit as to what poses the pair can practice. It just takes trust. And some physics. Moses and Zeina demonstrated a range of poses - and made it look easy. Zeina moved fluidly from a Superman-style pose to "folded leaf," where she bent at the waist as Moses supported her in a twist. She even did a supported shoulder stand. With enough practice, a flying bow or king pigeon becomes possible. Of course I wanted to try, as did the other 30 people who showed up for the workshop. We formed groups of three and took turns as the base, flier and spotter, who made sure the others were stable and offered a helping hand when they weren't. Lesson No. 2: Doing it backward. Moses and Zeina also showed us how to do backbends. The base person puts his feet on the flier's behind on either side of the sacrum (at the base of the spine). The flier grabs the ankles of the base person as the base person draws his legs to a 90-degree angle, completely supporting the weight of the flier. I tried this with my two group mates, Stephanie Downing and Heidi VandeVelde, and we all agreed that a flying backbend may be one of the most delicious variations around. I found that once I felt balanced, I relaxed and was able to move into a deeper backbend, thanks to gravity and Stephanie's pulling gently down on my shoulders. I heard my back pop and relaxed into the pose as I felt my body, from my neck to my hips, elongating. I'm looking forward to the Green Bus Project's next visit to Tampa in December. In the meantime, I'll be convincing my boyfriend that practicing flying yoga with me in the living room is a good idea. To follow Moses and Zeina's adventures and learn more about the tour, visit greenbusproject.com.

Daniela Velazquez's yoga column appears every other Saturday in 4you. Become her friend at Facebook.com/tbodaniela. She also can be reached at (813) 259-8074 or [email protected]

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