Practicing yoga with a partner can be a fun, rewarding and bonding experience. Yoga translates to literally mean “union.” There is no better way to unite than sharing a yoga practice with a romantic partner, a best friend or child. Partner yoga poses help connect you to connect with your inner choice as well as the outer world.
Yoga studios often offer special workshops in partners yoga poses, especially around Valentine’s Day. These workshops are great; but they are not a way to keep motivated through out the year. Starting a partner yoga practice at home is a great way to keep motivated and dedicated to your yoga practice. By practicing together, you can ensure you stick with your practice.
The following partner yoga poses are great for all levels. Feel free to follow this series completely or to integrate these partners yoga poses with individual yoga poses for a complete practice.
Before starting any new exercise, be sure to consult with your physician.
1. Partner Centering
As with a traditional yoga practice, begin in Easy Pose sitting back-to-back. Close your eyes and begin connecting with your breath. As you breath, feel your partners back expand on the inhales and deflate on the exhales. Try to match your partners breath, focusing on making inhales and exhales of equal lengths.
Breath and center back-to-back for a dozen rounds of breath. When you or your partner are ready to move forward with your practice, gently reach for each others hands.
2. Partner Easy Pose Warm-up Stretches
Now that you have connected the rhythm of your breath, you can move into gentle movements. Remain in back-to-back easy pose. Inhale and lift your arms to shoulder height, pressing your palms against your partners. Breath here for a round. Then on an inhalation, slowly raise your arms together overhead. Exhale and lower to the fold. Flow through these gentle arm raises for 5-10 rounds.
3. Partner seated forward fold
From back-to-back easy pose, inhale and lengthen your spines tall. On the exhale, one partner folds forward, while the other leans back. Breath into the pose and feel your back lengthening under the weight of your partner. Inhale, return to seated. Reserve and allow your partner to fold forward while you lean back. Breathe into the back bend.
Alternate folding and bending three times.
This pose has the benefit of opening your spine, as well as your heart center.
3. Standing Together: Partner Standing Forward Fold
Standing about 2 feet apart with backs facing. Position yourselves in Mountain pose with feet hip distance apart. Exhale, hinging and folding forward. Reach your arms behind you and grasp your partners arms. Gently pull your partner’s arms toward you; as they do the same. Feel your back and hamstrings lengthening.
Hold for three rounds of breath. To release, inhale back to standing and draw hands into prayer hand position. Repeat partner standing forward fold as often as you like, perhaps 3-5 times. After completing a few rounds, move into Sun Salutations (simultaneously with your partner.)
4. Partner Balance Poses: Tree
Performing a balance alone can be a challenge to find your individual balance. When you perform a balance pose with a partner, you work together to find balance in your bodies and in your relationship. While it might take a few tries to move into the pose, the end result is worth it.
Partner Tree is performed just like individual tree.
Stand beside your partner with your inside arms wrapped around each other’s waists. Bend your outside leg and lift to place your foot on your inside leg. You can place your foot anywhere—but avoid placing it over your knee joint.
Draw your outside hands together into a shared prayer position. You may pause here with your hands aligned with your heart centers or move together and lift your prayer over head.
Breathe together. After a few rounds of breath, switch sides and complete Tree on the opposite side finding balance in your entire body.
5. Relaxation: Partner Savasana
To finish your shared yoga practice, practice Savasana together. Relaxing and cooling down in savasana helps all the poses and their benefits meld into your body and spirit. Lay down next to your partner. Be close enough so you are not touching, but you are aware of each other.
Close your eyes and breathe. Scan your body for any areas that are holding tension and use your breath to soften those areas. Observe your breath the entire time. Plan on holding Savasana for 10 minutes. You can use a timer to track the time.
To complete savasana draw your knees into your chest and roll to one side. Pause, curled up in this fetal position. Then, very slowly and gently press your hands into the floor and rise up into easy pose with your legs crossed.
End your partner yoga session by facing each other in easy pose, with hands in prayer position. Gently open your eyes and bow to each other, offering, “Namaste” or peace.3