Divine Play: Feeling Right-Side-Up In A World Upside Down

21 10 2012

So much has happened in recent weeks, and I feel like I’m ages behind on writing a blog post!  I’ll start with last weekend’s events when I treated myself to the “opportunity of a life time” by flying out to Divine Play.

Divine Play is an annual national acroyoga festival hosted in San Francisco. Acroyogis from around the country and the globe fly in for 3 days of acrobatic training, therapeutic classes and the opportunity to play with like-minded spirits.  Each programming time slot boasted a whopping ten options to choose from and the festival didn’t disappoint.

Up in the Air on Someone's Shoulders

(Me) Up in the Air on Someone’s Shoulders

The festival was lovely and I challenged myself in new and exciting ways.  I was able to experiment with “two high” (popping up to standing on someone’s shoulders), high foot-to-hand (standing in someone’s hands with their hands pressed above their shoulders), bicep stand on someone’s feet, shoulderstand on someone’s shins, cannon-balling into star, popping to a number of different poses, one-handed free shoulder stand on someone’s hand and best of all… low hand-to-hand!

If all this sounds like jargon, just know that I am working on balancing a handstand in someone else’s hands.  Coolest thing ever.  I never imagined that I would be an acrobat and – though I am not interested in pursuing the art professionally – I love surprising myself through the creation of “acrobatic Ayo” and making all of this a reality.

High Side Star - More Challenging Than The "Dirty Dancing" Lift

High Side Star – More Challenging Than The “Dirty Dancing” Lift – I Tried Even Cooler Moves with Better Technique, But Alas Don’t Have Those Photos!

The technique and new ideas that I gained through the weekend were wonderful, and there were only a few drawbacks:  First, I found some of the classes to be hit-or-miss depending on who I was teamed up with.  If I had a strong group or lucked out and was paired with an acroyoga instructor, the sessions were fantastic.  If I had a weak or unsafe group, it was difficult to learn and hard to build up a rhythm and rapport if I switched half-way through.

The second drawback was that I was itching to free play on the first night, but there was no “open jam”.  By the time the open jam was offered on the second night, I was way too sore to play from hours of training during the day!

The third and final drawback is that – though I love the acro community in Austin – it seems so, um, amateur-ish and limited compared to the high numbers and levels of many of the Divine Players.  But – keepings things on the optimistic and happy side – I learned lots of new things to bring back to the community and definitely had a positive and at times thrilling experience!

Hooping by the San Fran Bay

Hooping by the San Fran Bay

Beyond the class instruction, the weekend offered music and acrobatic performances, dessert fairies that flitted around offering (free) delicacies and… I got to try the “Baby lift” from the end of Dirty Dancing, which I’ve always wanted to do.  Unfortunately, I didn’t nab a photo of the lift, but still – so cool.

The fun continued beyond the festival with a farmer’s market, San Francisco food trucks and visiting local area friends.  I stayed once again with good friends, blog readers and future RVers Matt and Beans who were extraordinarily generous with their time and hosting, and even bought me a birthday cake!  Also a highlight was seeing Burner friend Ruthie (Captain) of biking-across-America fame.

Though I am not anywhere near this level, I’ve realized that I have begun to view acrobats and Cirque Du Soleil performers as my peers rather than as mysterious and mystical creatures worlds away from what I could ever achieve.  It doesn’t undermine my appreciation of their talent, but it’s exciting to feel “like one of them” in a chill way.

Out With Friends in San Francisco - Beans, Matt, Ruthie (Captain) and Me

Out With Friends in San Francisco – Beans, Matt, Ruthie (Captain) and Me

I’ll leave you with a short story:  On the second night of the conference, I was walking around SF late at night looking for my bus stop.  My phone battery was close to dead and I had been lost for just over 20 minutes.  I wasn’t getting too frustrated as it was a lovely night, but I still couldn’t figure out how I could have possibly gotten so lost – given that I had walking directions pulled up on my smart phone!

Well, I had a bit of divine providence working in my favor at Divine Play as not only did I have the most wonderful bus driver (who incidentally didn’t charge me for the ride), but at the very next bus stop, the famous and highly skilled Dutch acrobatic duo Det and Jim walked onboard and spent 40 minutes chatting with me about acrobatics, life in Holland and assorted bits of interesting-ness.  It was totally meant to be!

Divine Providence - Meeting Dutch Acrobats Det and Jim on the Bus

Divine Providence – Meeting Dutch Acrobats Det and Jim on the Bus

Signing off from New York (more on that to come) where I’ve just had a life-enthusing, energy-infusing four days surrounded by ones I love.  :-)

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posted by ayo

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