An essay

We Are Family

The therapeutic impact of acroyoga

Ann Marie Steele
3 min readFeb 6, 2024

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Image provided by @BryanEdwardCreative

Although it may not be news to anyone who is part of an acroyoga community anywhere in the world, when participants think about the term acro, the word family is often the first to come up.

“My Acro family is my chosen family,” said Jade Tenberg, a veterinarian who has been part of the St. Petersburg, Florida Acro Yoga community since 2017.

“Acro is an all in one,” she said, “hugs, play, healing, movement, and challenges.”

Although Tenberg has been practicing acroyoga since 2017, it wasn’t until this past year that she recognized the positive impact that this unique movement art has had on all facets of her life, not just the physical. In fact, acro has been an incredibly healing and therapeutic activity.

“Acro was instrumental in getting my own mental health back on track last year,” Tenberg explained. “It is not just a movement practice; it also involves communication and play, and incorporates all of the Love Languages.”

Tenberg relays how her battle with depression last year “spiraled out of control” due to “autistic burnout.” She describes how she went through periods of high productivity, followed by extreme lows, and without adequate support, she hit rock bottom. But she found a remedy — acro.

“Spending time in my special interest fills me up,” she said.

Although she participated in various aerial arts for years, it wasn’t until she discovered acroyoga, that she not only felt at home, but found her true family and began healing.

“The acro community is very inclusive, especially of people with disabilities,” said Tenberg who is not only neurodivergent, but due to childhood cancer, is missing the bottom four ribs and most of her core muscles on the right side of her body.

Now she prefers acro to aeriel because “acro is a partnership — even with limitations, partners can compensate for each other’s weaknesses,” she said. “Ariel arts is a very solo practice, no teamwork.”

But in acro, both base and flyer play an integral role — “You can’t achieve a skill on your own.”

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Ann Marie Steele

I write about love and loss, what I observe and experience — I write about hope. My writing has been described as resiliently defiant.