Strolling Ballard Avenue on a Saturday evening always takes a bit of choreography. The swarms of people – musicians rolling their instruments along the sidewalk and into bars to set up for their gigs; foodies shifting from foot to foot while they wait for tables outside of popular restaurants; families shuffling little kids towards the gelato shop – all have their own sense of movement, pace and rhythm. And on the second Saturday of the month, the Ballard ArtWalk brings another element into this lively sidewalk dance.
It was during the last ArtWalk that I stumbled upon another amazing demonstration of maneuvering at Kula Movement. This yoga and health studio on Ballard Avenue features classes in acro-yoga – a practice that “blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts,” according to the organization AcroYoga. For ArtWalk, Kula welcomes visitors into their sunny shoe-free studio for a show of agility, strength and cooperation by some of their acro-yoga practitioners. Intrigued, I removed my shoes and took a seat inside to watch the performance.
For fifteen minutes without pausing, the acro-yoga duo began their spontaneous and fluid sequence of handstands, twists, and arches, one balanced on the other. Later, the female acrobat launched from the floor onto the shoulders of the tall male acrobat, and was suddenly inverted with her toes nearly touching the ceiling. Soon a crowd gathered on the sidewalk outside, watching through the window with open mouths and wide eyes. Agro-yoga is part yoga, part circus – all mesmerizing.
I tied my shoes to leave and tip-toed through the crowd outside to wind my way through the rest of the shops and galleries of the ArtWalk. As I made my return loop about an hour later, a new crowd stood outside of Kula, amazed by the artful movement in the window.
You can try your hand at acro-yoga at Kula Movement, 5340 Ballard Avenue, http://kulamovement.com