Acroyoga teacher Marc Bauchet lifts a student at his class in Ho Chi Minh City
Yoga is synonymous with calmness. It focuses on breathing, breath control and inner contemplation. But a French yoga teacher has given me cause to reconsider all this.
Marc Bauchet teaches acroyoga, a combination of acrobatics and yoga with a little bit of Thai massage thrown in to boot.
"Acrobatics represent dynamism, Thai massage represents stillness, and yoga, the spiritual connection," Bauchet explains.
I was at his class last weekend at the Yoga Meditation Center in Ho Chi Minh City.
Acroyoga involves "giving and receiving, strength and sensitivity, trust and communication," the guru says.
At the start the 16 of us warmed up with some stretching in a circle. After that we split into groups of three, with two people trying the yoga postures and a third keeping an eye to ensure the "flier" does not fall.
I was teamed with Daphne Chua, a Singaporean yoga teacher. I took first turn on top as she lay on her back, planted her feet on the top of my thighs, and hoisted me in the air. I cupped my face with my elbows halfway between us, and she grasped them.
It was my first time at the class - most others had attended the previous three - and a scary thought crossed my mind: What if I fall on her and we both break our noses?
But the with the help of ourspotter, an English woman who seems to have been practicing yoga for years, I managed to steady myself and gradually began to enjoy moving my hands, legs, hips, and feet in tandem with Daphne.
I enjoyed the final part when I had my feet touching each other and my face in my hands. I realized Daphne was someone calm, steady, and always in control.
We then swapped positions and she became the flier. I have always been confident about the strength in my legs, so I enjoyed lifting my partner even more than being on top. Of course, one has to take care there is no sweat that could end up causing one of us to slip.
Finally we relaxed with two people massaging someone at a time. It involved vigorously twisting legs on opposite sides and pressing arms with feet, and ending with each person getting a foot and head massage simultaneously.
After the class I spoke to Bauchet.
He has been teaching yoga for 10 years. Yoga has helped him establish stronger and has stronger connections with people and made him a better listener.
He has always been on the road somewhere between Asia and Europe. After HCMC, he plans to travel to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.