There’s a pretty good chance that if you see two people practicing acrobatic partner yoga (acroyoga) on Kafadar Commons, one of them is physics teaching assistant Michelle Griffith. Griffith, who graduated from Mines with an engineering physics degree in the spring, heard about acroyoga from an instructor last summer and has been practicing regularly in Golden parks and Boulder gyms ever since.
“Yoga is not about being showy whereas acroyoga is,” Griffith said. “It’s made to be dynamic and entertaining, whereas yoga is more a sacred practice.”
Acroyoga is made up of static or washing machine poses (a sequence of poses) between partners. One person, referred to as the base, is usually laying or standing on the ground to support the other, who is usually elevated (also known as the flyer).
“A lot of people think that because acroyoga involves touching it has to be romantic and that’s not the case at all,” Griffith said. “I appreciate the fact that you can have trusting, physical contact with another person and not have it be romantic or weird.”
One of Griffith’s partners is Max Schulze, a world champion unicyclist and Mines 2014 chemistry graduate. Schulze saw Griffith’s acroyoga posts on Facebook and contacted her about practicing together.
“I really like the sun and when it’s dark out for a long time, I become more stressed with school,” Schulze. “I remember driving up to Boulder twice a week, even by myself, to go to acroyoga because it was fun and just got me de-stressed.”
Griffith also uses the practice to unwind between her work at Mines.
"You’re not thinking about the last test you just took when you’re doing acroyoga,” Griffith said. “It’s super therapeutic to move and stretch your body.”
Schulze is currently working as a researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and is considering graduate school. Griffith is looking into obtaining yoga and acroyoga teacher certifications and exploring graduate schools for physical therapy.
“Physics is very applicable to physical therapy, but also fundamentally centered around the body and I do a lot of athletic things,” Griffith said.