Take your partner by the hand, or back, or knee… and get set for a partner yoga experience.
Yoga is traditionally an individual practice. It’s a discipline that asks us to tune out the many distractions around us and develop a closer connection with our inner self. However, there are many benefits to be found in connecting with another and branching out to partner yoga.
Partner yoga involves working with another person to bring a new dimension to your yoga experience. The word ‘yoga’ means to unite, so ‘uniting’ with a yoga partner is a fitting variation to a regular practice. Partner yoga can be fun, revealing and challenging. It can take a variety of tones, depending on the setting and intention that you do it within.
Partner yoga can be done in a group class with someone you may think of as a ‘stranger’ (at first). Or maybe it’s you and a yoga buddy having some fun with your practice. Or perhaps you and your beloved can use partner yoga to strengthen your relationship by enhancing your sense of connection and intimacy.
Below are a few examples of partner yoga, and the benefits they can bring.
Core strength and balance poses. Balance. Trust. Fun!
Balancing and ‘flying’ poses where you are relying on your partner to support you and keep you from falling can really help develop your balance, core strength and coordination, as well your ability and willingness to trust another person. Plus they can be a lot of fun!
Balancing and core strength poses can start off very simple, where you both have your feet or hips on the ground. When you are ready you can progress to more advanced poses that will challenge you more physically and mentally. You’ll develop your ability to feel, read and react to another person’s movements and cues, and to work together.
Poses like ‘double dog’ are not only fun and playful to try with your friend or partner, but they can also provide a great ‘assist’ to help you move deeper into a pose. For example, in double dog the correct placement of your partner’s feet can give you an extra good stretch through the back of your legs.
Create more awareness, of yourself and your partner
Partner yoga does not need to turn into acrobatics however. Very simple poses such as seated focused breathing together can really encourage a deeper personal connection. The experience of tuning into and feeling your partner’s each breath can be powerful, and enhance the intimacy of your relationship.
Build awareness of your practice
Having a partner to support and mirror your pose will help you develop greater awareness of how you move into and maintain poses and use your breath. A seated back-to-back twist is a great example of this.
Yoga invites us to open our bodies by opening with our joints, muscles and connective tissues. But yoga also challenges us to open our hearts and minds to connect with our inner selves, and the people around us.
Partner yoga can be everything from playful to intimate, and can help us explore and push our boundaries and comfort zones, such as letting go of our emotional shields and defences, and the fear of letting others get close to us. Your forays into partner yoga might just be for a few breaths in one pose, or you and your partner may like to build a whole practice of partner yoga together.
As you explore what’s possible with partner yoga, it’s important to also recognise that each of us has differing boundaries of personal comfort when working closely with others. Remember to be respectful and ‘ask permission’.
Lastly, remember that a healthy dose of laughter is a common side-effect of partner yoga, so expect to have some fun while adding in something new to your health and wellbeing activities.
WIN WIN WIN
Give partner yoga a try and email us a photo of your efforts. We’ll choose our favourite photos and the winners will receive double passes to Balance Yoga Cambridge.
Email your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org with Balance Yoga in the subject line.
Entries close 28 February 2017.