5 Tips for Basing
Depending on where you are in terms of level, there are so many tips you can employ to improve your basing in Acro: they can’t all fit into a single top 5 list. So, here are OUR top 5 tips for bases to continuously focus on, with the intention of improving across all of their practice (with a couple of bonus tips). We want to emphasise that these are OUR tips and they are in line with our acro philosophy. We know everyone develops their own way of doing things so these tips are not meant to be universal but more of a guide what works for us.
Do you want longevity in your day to day practice? In every pose, explore where to hold your flyer in 3D space, find out where is the easiest spot for you personally. This location will depend on your strength, flexibility, how your flyer holds themselves and your base-flyer proportions; and of course is somewhat dependent on the natural laws of physics.
Why is this good? Two main reasons:
1. Your acro will become easier and more ergonomic in terms of energy output.
2. You will always have a reserve range of motion (and strength) to deal with wriggly flyers and falls.
Below are 3 examples of where it is possible to hold a flyer while in bird.
1 - Base is holding the flyer quite far back and it takes core work.
2 - Is just right (minimum effort) for the base's strength, flexibility etc.
3 - Base is holding the flyer over head and it is stressful for the leg muscles.
Holding the flyer quite far back, takes core work.
This is just right (minimum effort) for the base's strength, flexibility etc
Too far overhead, takes effort and leg strength.
2. Don’t take away points of contact
What!? Surely that does not make sense?
In fact it makes the system far more stable to practice this (as a base). Instead of taking away points of contact, wait for the flyer to lift off. This way, when you take away your foot (hand, elbow, shin…whatever) the entire system is ready for it and stability will be omnipresent in your practice. Just make sure you communicate beforehand so everyone knows what’s going to be taken away.
In our practice we often use the terms 'delivery' and 'receiving'. The foot/leg that the flyer is coming off is the delivery foot/leg and the foot the flyer is coming on is the receiving one.
When transitioning from one pose to the next, it is really easy as a base to lose focus on the delivery foot. Make sure to stay present with the foot, keep it helping the flyer reach their position throughout the move. This will improve the flyers comfort and overall energy output as there will not be a sudden loss of stability.
Below is “delivery” in action during the move called rotisserie.
An initial pose & an indication of the delivery foot.
This is the mid way point in the transition, at this stage there should be equal weight on both feet.
An example of how low the base can mono squat so that the flyer has no fall when approaching the receiving foot.
We are now roughly 75% of the way through the move. This is typically where bases lose focus and drop away the delivery foot.
Here the delivery foot is involved in the move, right up until the flyer has all their weight, in a stable position on the receiving foot.
As a base, you are a human pretending to be a treadmill. The flyer is always trying to roll off your feet (point(s) of contact), they do it in some pretty imaginary ways (transitions). Your job is to be responsive to them, allowing them to roll in all directions while keeping their CoM (center of mass) over yours.
Another way to look at this, is to extend your bodily awareness to include their CoM. Similar to how a swordsman's sword is an extension of their body, reframe your body to include the flyers center of mass. This definitely takes a lot of practice and calibration before two bodies start moving as one and, when it happens, it's often on a subconscious level. We believe that by bringing awareness into this phenomenon it is possible to cultivate it.
Just like your body/brain automatically holds your CoM over your feet when walking, your body/brain will hold your flyers CoM appropriately in space when transitioning.
5. Inversion & Eversion
Orienting your foot so that the sole is facing inwards.
Orienting your foot so that the sole is facing outwards.
This is a really handy bit of technique for 2 reasons:
The first, it can dramatically improve the comfort of the flyer. No one wants to be in a side star balancing on a knife edge. Bruised hips anyone?
An example of inversion in side star… NOT comfortable!
The second, when playing with no hands acro, inversion & eversion, are used to balance the flyer.
Inversion will bring the flyer's upper body lower.
Eversion will bring the flyer's upper body higher.
These are the tips we came up with (possibly other also), they allow us to practice in an energy efficient way with maximum comfort for the base and flyer. They also allow us to do some awesome hands free flows in a safe and graceful way.
We hope they help you out too, enjoy.
Natalia & Joshua
Images 1 through 11 are taken from the Top 5 Tips For Basing - AcroYoga video.
Image 12 is taken from the Tick Tock Hands Free - AcroYoga video.