Creating support and play through AcroYoga

Sadie Ranen, 21, photographed with her sister, Maggie Ranen, 18.

Sadie and Maggie Ranen, students at Asheville Yoga Donation Studio, support and fly with one another. AcroYoga, the combination of acrobatics and healing arts, is a style of yoga the sisters love to practice together. “Acro is play, and it is so fun,” Ranen says about the practice. “It is also amazing because in Acro you have to walk in the door humble and trusting because you get so intimate with your partner. You have to work in common with another person to have a practice.” The partner who acts as the “base” can also massage the “flyer,” creating a therapeutic massage aspect to the practice as well.

“We are thinking about becoming Acro teachers together because we are so yin and yang,” Ranen says. “Maggie brings the physical intensity, and I bring therapuetic massage.”

Attracted to yoga originally for meditation and chanting kriyas, or Sanskrit words designed to invoke awareness and concentration, Ranen also attends Kundalini yoga classes in Asheville. Sierra Hollister, whom Ranen describes as both grounding and enlightening, is a Kundalini teacher at Asheville Yoga Center and Warren Wilson College and a dynamic mentor in Ranen’s life. The 21-year-old recognizes the significance of having a steady teacher to help guide the student on the path.

“Meditation is the answer for me,” the college student says. “It greatly affects me by how much I grow and come closer to myself. What being balanced in myself is when I’m in a practice like Acro. If you don’t know whats going in your own self, then doing it with another person is difficult.” AcroYoga was created by two acrobats, Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein, with the intention of combining acrobats and healing modalities to cultivate trust, empowerment, and joy, improve listening skills, loving and letting go, and cultivating breath awareness, life balance and connection. “It is just so much fun to practice with my sister. We are the same size and have a similar practice,” Ranen says. “Being able to be supported and have your spine lengthened is incredible. It is a constant learning process. Through yoga, you are learning more and more about the self, and in turn it changes how you interact with others. I can resist something, make it difficult, or breathe in the self and just be there.”

The Ranen sisters attend Rachel Fifer’s AcroYoga class at Asheville Yoga Donation Studio, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m., as well as Sierra Hollister’s Kundalini yoga class at Asheville Yoga Center, Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m.

Kate Lundquist is a freelance writer and yoga teacher living in Asheville. Her website is here, and she teaches Saturdays, 2:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m., at Asheville Yoga Center.


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