Acroyoga with Nirvana Pilkington

After meeting Nirvana Pilkington at our Spring Wellness Workshop she left us wanting to know more! This dynamic acroyoga teacher has an energy about her that is contagious! Check out her interview with The Feel Good Physio below…

acroyoga teacher Nirvana PilkingtonTell us about your first taste of acro yoga? Where was it?

My first taste of people balancing was when I was a child lifting up my siblings.  My first acrobalance class was with Vulcana Women’s Circus in 2007. Then I tried acroyoga at Woodford Folk Festival with a few friends.  Several years later, my yoga teacher and acrobalance partner said check out this thing called “acroyoga” and we saw these amazing funky flows on youtube.  We spent hours copying those sequences.  

Your acro has taken you to some amazing places around the world… I believe you were on a super yacht recently?

I was sailing the Med for work but that was mainly teaching yoga and doing bodywork except for some acro play with their daughter.  I have been to Canada a few times for training and travelled in a van throughout the Unites States going from acro community to acro community.  I learnt a wide range of partner acrobatics on that trip from circus acro, partner acrobatics, sports acro, cheer and of course acroyoga. I went to acro camps, gatherings, workshops, teacher trainings, jams and one of the biggest conventions Divine Play which had around 1000 people attend. We travelled 5000km in 6 days in our van to go to that!  

I have also travelled to Europe visiting festivals, conventions, retreats, jams and workshops both as a student and teacher. Last year I went to the Dutch Acrobatic Convention and PreConvention. Many elements that exist in acroyoga today come from Dutch acrobatics. There was around 800 people there at this convention from all over the world. I saw so many friends from many places and some I could say I met on three continents.

Ok, so everyone has been asking me about the Somatic Sex Coaching… what is it? And are sessions individual or with couples?

Can you remember your sex education from school or your parents?  I am sure most people will say it was minimal, about functionality, and not getting pregnant or an STI.  It certainly wasn’t about how to explore the pleasure of sex, pleasure and sexuality.  In our teenage years onwards most of our knowledge comes from movies, friends, porn, self pleasuring and our partners.  When you go to the doctor it is also very functional.  Our learning doesn’t come from an empowered place.  That is where I step in.

A somatic sex coach is someone who assists people in exploring sex and sexuality in their bodies.  People come to me for a range of issues or a desire to learn more about themselves.  Some reasons to have a session may include wanting to expand orgasmic potential, dealing with body image issues, exploring somatic ways to heal past stories, learning about anatomy, changing habits around self pleasuring or within relationships, post surgery scar tissue remediation (assisting to reduce the scar tissue and sensation issues), pre-ejaculation, vaginismus, mismatched libido in couples and so forth. 

I spend a lot of time establishing boundaries and consent.  To move into this work it is vital to understand what consent feels like in the body.  Somatic education means learning is emphasised around an internal exploration of the physical perception and experience in the body.  This is different to knowing something in our minds.  

Sessions can be for individuals, couples and groups.  Each session is client led.  This is very important in the somatic approach especially when we wish to create a space of safety.  Sessions have an educational learning focus or some kind of learning that the session is working toward.  This is established early on in working together.  All this translates into knowing ourselves better when it comes to our pleasure, taking responsibility for it and knowing how to ask for what we want.  Sessions also can include breathwork, sound, movement, touch, curiosity and other exercises that assist the learning objective.  Knowing how to have more pleasure in your life translates to EVERYTHING.  How you relate to others and yourself.  It has changed my life, how I navigate my way in it.  I LOVE this work!!! 

Do you have any acro courses coming up?

I do.  Next Tuesday I return to acroyoga classes after a year of study and travel.  I will be teaching 2 classes in a six week term block.  6 – 7.30pm will be the foundations class which is open to beginners or those wanting to warm up and build strength in the foundations.  7.30 – 9 will be funky flows for people who have some acroyoga experience. 

Next weekend I am teaching at the 5 day Byron Bay Acro Flyaway Intensive run by the Threads team from Tassie.  There is also an acro camp coming up in November in Bellingen. 

What podcast are you listening to at the moment?

I currently am studying yogic studies online, looking at the history and origins of yoga and yogic texts as I am also a yoga teacher. That is currently taking up my podcast space.  However my last podcast was listening to Esther Perel who is a world renowned sex therapist and author of an amazing book called “Mating in Captivity”.  She also has a few Ted Talks and a new book called “The State of Affairs, Redefining Infidelity”.

What is your best health and wellness tip?

Listen. Listen to your body.  Develop a relationship with it.  You can go to a million people to try to fix things but unless you have a relationship to yourself, looking at your habits, when your body is speaking to you, when the mind runs the body (often to the ground), how food responds in your stomach and how your energy levels correlate, then its very hard to change.  Rest. Take time to enjoy the pleasures in life.  Breathe.  

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