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Extreme Yoga Poses and Positions

No, this is not digital computer wizardry. These are real people doing mind-boggling things with their bodies. Their physical pliability isn't innate; it's learned -- which means you can do it, too -- after years and years of dutiful practice. Until then, get your voyeuristic thrill here.
Hangle Dangle Intro to AcroYoga

If your jaw just dropped, you're not alone -- many people experience visceral reactions (i.e., spontaneous muscle contractions, intense feelings of befuddlement and curiosity) when seeing AcroYoga(r) for the first time. But be forewarned: Observers may become die-hard practitioners, so say the group of seven teachers and students shown here. Recently, we captured them working their malleable magic at Om Factory in New York City. What you don't see are the Thai massages they give each other before, during, and after completing each move, which help facilitate a sense of trust, solidarity, and utter relaxation (I had one myself, as Chris balanced me on her feet!). Complimentary massage, the thrill of hanging upside down -- it's easy to understand the addiction. Here, we find out what keeps them coming back for more.

The Players
Chris Loebsack, 37, AcroYoga(r), Teacher
Becca Krauss, 27, AcroYoga(r), Teacher
Mary Aranas, 49, AcroYoga(r), Teacher
Will Nagel, 38, AcroYoga(r), Teacher
Deven Sisler, 28, AcroYoga(r), Teacher
Mitch Gerbus, 26, Student
Alyona Mindlin, 28, Student

The Positions
Flyer: The person who is at the pinnacle of the pose.
Base: The person positioned at the bottom of the move; supports the flyer.
Spotter: A person who is not involved in the pose but provides additional balance to ensure safety.