Our yoga columnist explains why partner yoga is so beneficial – physically and emotionally – and why you should grab a significant other or friend to give it a try.
Before all the single ladies take a hard pass — partner yoga is not just for couples. Mental health professionals agree that social connection is incredibly important for we social human animals. The physical and emotional challenges involved in these postures can help foster connection and closeness in any important relationship.
So, what exactly is Partner Yoga? Partner yoga takes regular yoga postures and adds another person to the mix. The postures may be very low-intensity, with both partners seated, or high-intensity, with one partner flying. In either situation, the purpose of the partner is the same — to assist and adjust one another, to deepen the sensations of the pose. You can think of it as having a personal yoga teacher on hand, giving you adjustments in each pose.
Just as in interpersonal relationships, we apply the principles of give and take to partner yoga. Be sure to take turns with your partner, so that each person explores the release and emotion of both sides of each posture.
Navasana (Boat Pose)
Each partner should come to their seat, facing one another. Reaching forward, link hands and bring soles of the feet together with knees bent. Maintaining the joining of hands, begin to straighten knees, pressing strong into your partner’s feet and lifting through the core. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, and then release gently.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Partner A (bottom) will come to a wide-kneed Child’s Pose on the mat, arms lengthening forward. Partner B (top) will then sit on Partner A’s hips, facing the other direction, with her own sacrum matched up with Partner A’s sacrum. Partner B will then begin to lay down along Partner A’s back, extending arms overhead and straightening the legs. Both partners will breathe deeply, matching inhales and exhales. Hold for 2 to 3 minutes. Partner B will gently roll back up, releasing the pose. After a few breaths of rest, partners can switch positions.
Ready to learn more? The Yoga Bar will be hosting a partner-style yoga workshop on March 6, 2:00pm – 4:30pm. Yin + Thai Massage, featuring Donna Covrett and Adam Stonebraker, will feature long-held gentle postures and the partnering benefits of Thai massage.