hammoks at utopiafest

Utopiafest 2015: Interview with Yoga Instructors

by Ranisha Shipp
KTSW Music              

hammoks at utopiafest
Photo by Ranisha Shipp

R: Hello, this is everyone’s favorite radio DJ, Lady R. I’m here at UTOPiAfest at the Acro yoga tent with the instructers.

C: Chris Cox

K: Katrina Ruteman

R: So, we had an exciting hour full of acro yoga. It was really amazing. I initially thought I could never lift someone up in the air, but I lifted a man up in the air with my amazing leg muscles. So, it was great. So, how long did you guys say you had done this?

C: I started about 2 years ago. I started by being flown at a party and I’ve been addicted ever since and continuously coming to jam sessions, workshops, and lessons. It’s the healthiest addiction I have.

K: I’ve been doing acro for almost three years now and I discovered it with a coworker friend of mine. We went to yoga together and one day, she egged me on to acro yoga. Same as Chris. Once I flew, I could not stop thinking about it. I went home and I was dreaming about it. Pretty shortly after, I was doing acro 2 to 3 times a week.

R: Wow. I guess that is a healthy addiction. What would you say to someone who’s just starting out in acro yoga and wanted to get more involved?

C: I would say try to find somewhere in your community to try to learn from someone. It’s a difficult thing to just hop on Youtube and watch people do it because you don’t learn the intricacies of the balance of the weight and technique. I’d say look in your community to see if there’s a community there for you to play with but I would also say don’t be super intimidated because a lot of it looks more difficult than it actually is. The technique through the use of your limbs, and your bones and bone stacking, and getting everything in alignment. You can lift things and do things you never thought you could do before. First step, find a community.

R: Anything to add?

K: I agree with Chris. The best way to learn acro yoga or acrobatic partner yoga is to look on the internet for your town or a town near you..Just as Chris said, don’t be too intimated. It’s amazing how quickly you can learn. Especially when it becomes a passion of yours. Which a lot of people right of the bat, you kinda know. You know there’s a lot of adrenaline involved both from the feeling of being lifted off the ground and the trust that’s involved, and the positive non-sexual touch of other people. It’s a really great healthy activity. One you get started, it can really help you grow strong and be a great practice.

R: Okay. You said you guys had a studio in Austin?

C: Not in particularly, a studio. There’s a community of people who gather fairly regularly for jams. A jam is kinda like an unorganized gathering a people who just come together and play. In Austin, we have the Austin Acro Community. If you look for us on Facebook, you can find us there. Friday, we have a jam. Sunday, we have a jam. We play pretty regularly in pretty dedicated spots but we do change locations. We don’t have a dedicated studio at the moment.

R: How long have you guys been coming out and teaching this at UTOPiAfest?

K: This is our first year out at Utopia but we’ve been teaching at different festivals for about 2 years now and having a wonderful time. We find that the community at festivals tends to be really open and receptive to something which like, acro yoga. When we do this in the city or out in public, passersby might think this looks pretty odd and it can be a little bit intimate and but again, here at festivals, people tend to be ready to jump on board. Really ready to have fun and to meet new people every time. So, it’s been a really great way for us to explore teaching.

R: Nice, nice. What has been your favorite experience with teaching acro yoga?

C: I think my favorite experience is just every time you put a smile on someone’s face when they are so surprised with whatever they can do. With whatever they can accomplish. With acro yoga and a lot of these things, there’s minimal discipline, so there’s never like an end in sight. There’s never like a final level. There’s always something to do. Either something more difficult, more challenging. Finesse and fine tune the things you already have and when you get things that feel really good, it just puts the same smile on people’s face. It’s just like a joy to bring to other people. My favorite pert of teaching is like giving someone those new experiences.

K: I agree. Both the thrill of seeing the proud smiles on people’s faces when they realize something they never thought they were capable of. Just as you said yourself, you were lifting a man in the air with your own legs and it just feels incredible. That, and especially at festivals, something I really love is seeing people later in the festival and this has happened multiple times. We’ll see groups come up to each other and say, “I worked with you in acro yoga!” And just having a way to connect rather than I was sitting beside you at the show, we’ve got a way that people really remember that connection and maybe go on to keep that connection throughout the weekend and maybe throughout life. Then of course when people come up to us. It’s been really great for us to build relationships that way with students and with friends.

R: Okay great, last question. If acro yoga was a sandwich, what kinda sandwich would you think it would be?

C: Are there any sandwiches that can do back flips? You got one?

K: I think it would be one of those sandwiches that like in cartoons, the man of the house will go and make one in the middle of the night and it will have absolutely everything in the fridge that you can find stacked on top of it. A couple different pieces of bread in the middle to maintain the structure as you go up because I think that acro, like Chris said, is pulling from so many disciplines. It has a little bit of everything and it might not taste good to everybody but it’s really something. [laughs]

R: [laughs] Ok well, actually last thing is there anything you wanna plug in. Like, your business?

K: Again, mostly we’re teaching at festivals. I’m Katrina Ruteman and this is Chris Cox. You can find us through the Austin Acro Community. Both of us are on Facebook. We love hearing from people. We love hearing questions and if you find us online, you can also look at my website; www.katrinaruteman.com. You can message me there. We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you have or how to get you in contact with your community nearby to get started with acro.

C: We primarily work the festival circuit but we also do do small private lessons and also photo shoots as well for acro yoga.

K: A huge thanks to Yoga Yoga, who is hosting us out here this weekend. We’re so happy to be teaching with them.

R: Alright! This has been Lady R at UTOPiAFEST. See you next time.

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