After winning the 2002 Universal Cheerleader Association Rookie of the Year’s respective male and female divisions, it seemed that the stars were aligned for John Sommers and Tegan Jemma’s romantic futures to collide. For many years, the two danced around the same social circles, frequently running into one another at cheer summer camps, coaching events, and national tournaments, before dating.
The four-year strong, newly-engaged couple credits their incredible bond not just to a shared natural inclination for athleticism but to the practice of AcroYoga, or “acro,” a playful form of movement that combines acrobatics and partner yoga.
Tegan explains that acro teaches couples how to hold one another up without talking. In addition to the nonverbal aspect, verbal cues play a large role. While holding a position, couples must express how the stance from their perspective feels, so that partners can problem solve how to best adapt their bodies to meet the needs of the other’s experience.
She says this approach takes away the finger-pointing and encourages couples to decide on actionable items, as opposed to falling back on the natural inclination for defensiveness.
If John and Tegan are ever feeling disconnected, the two will engage in AcroYoga, as it provides a space for intimate communication during times when normal dialogue can be difficult for couples to access in those initial moments of tension.
Holding a whole-body-experience attitude towards fitness, the couple will opt for playful movement and fun over traditional gym training regimens. Tegan, who also works as a sports psychologist, recommends her clients to find feel-good outlets they find enjoyable.
While John enjoys meals rich in meat proteins, Tegan follows a vegan diet. As a compromise, when cooking chili together, the couple starts with a vegan base, and John will add beef to his separated portion.
As far as 2022 goes, the power couple is hosting an AcroYoga retreat in Hawaii, replete with mindfulness sessions, fitness classes, and group acrobatics, also known as “acrojams.”
“One thing we learn so much about ourselves through acro is how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable—it’s the most vital tool for growth.”
For more information or to schedule a class, visit mind/body HAUS at Mindbodyhaus.com.
By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Tindall Stephens