A City in Balance

Imagine yourself in a room...a prison. You're surrounded by 300 female inmates & you don't speak the language. Your stress levels begin to rise & yet, a half hour later, the room has burst into laughter, the stress melted away, the sense of connection & hope solidified. This is the power of acroyoga
Location: Jerusalem , Israel
Year founded: 2014


My name is Ayo Oppenheimer, and I am passionate about community, the intersection of physical and mental health and wellbeing, and accessibility to arts, sport and culture for all.

I am a Jerusalem resident who made aliyah last year and is investing in growing my neighborhood and my city.  I am also the only certified acroyoga instructor in all of Jerusalem.  Lest acroyoga seem like another new fad, allow me to explain what this practice is and why it is so valuable.

Acroyoga is the combination of breath work, yoga, partner acrobatics and creative movement.  My teacher Eugene Poku once described acroyoga as "being present in the moment while in balance with another".  The easiest way to visualize this practice is to imagine when you were a child.  Perhaps your parents once lay down on the ground and placed their feet on your hips, flying you in the air like an airplane?  This is one of the introductory acroyoga poses, which grown adults are freed and empowered to base, fly and spot in acroyoga experiences.

Why is acroyoga important?  As a practitioner for the past decade and a teacher for over 5 years, I have seen the impact that it has on people's lives.  Strangers quickly become friends.  Stress melts into laughter.  Neighbors meet one another.  Teams learn the value of partnership and unity.  Youth at risk acquire the skills and composure to deal with challenging situations.  And even prisoners find momentary joy and respite from the reality and confines of their walls, realizing that a small action like partnering in this practice can bring so much light to their life.  In short, though unconventional, acroyoga is not a mere physical practice.  It is a tool to uplift, unite, challenge and support all those around us and a user-friendly tool, at that.

I have had the privilege of teaching acroyoga in a variety of settings including public parks, schools, summer camps, hostels for youth at risk, shelters for victims of domestic violence and even those in jail.  I have seen firsthand the change that it can make in people's lives and I am seeking a grant opportunity that will fund or subsidize an ongoing series of acroyoga programming for residents of Jerusalem in all parts of the city and all walks of life.  Rather than merely being a one-time or one-year opportunity, the grant would allocate a budget toward training a cohort of dedicated volunteers who would learn the skills of safely teaching and then continue facilitating acroyoga workshops in a range of settings around the city.

No grants received yet


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