Yoga is traditionally thought of as an individual practice, but there is a new trend emerging; that of partner yoga. Much like paint nights, escape rooms and improv classes, partner yoga is cropping up as a fun new activity that gets couples off the couch, out of the house, and trying something new.
Partner yoga isn’t just for romantic couples though – it can be a great class to do with a friend, your business partner, or even a complete stranger. Partner yoga is all about being open, compassionate and learning how to trust.
David Robson, a Toronto-based yoga instructor who co-leads partner yoga workshops, put it well by saying, “partner yoga means you have to take into account your spouse or your friend in a way that builds heightened awareness for one another. It builds an ability to relate, and means you have to place more dependence and trust in one another.”
It doesn’t matter if you or your partner have never practiced yoga before. Partner yoga is suitable for all levels. Poses range from basic seated poses, to balancing poses that require couples to counterbalance one another, and even inversions. Partner yoga helps improve communication, develop trust and build strength, all in a fun-filled and supportive environment.
4 Partner Yoga Poses to Try (Ranging in Difficulty)
1. Partner Breathing
This is a gentle way to connect with your partner, perhaps at the beginning of practice.
- Start in a seated position with legs crossed, with your back resting against each other.
- Rest your hands on your thighs or knees and allow yourself to feel and connect with your partner. Close your eyes.
- Begin to notice how the breath feels as you inhale and exhale; especially notice how the back of the rib cage feels against your partner’s.
- Begin to “breath alternate” with your partner, so as you inhale, he exhales; as he inhales, you exhale. Practice for three to five minutes.
2. Temple Pose
This pose helps open the chest and shoulders, energetically opening the heart and releasing stress.
- Start by facing each other in a standing position.
- Ground feet under hips, then inhale, bringing the arms overhead. Begin to hinge forward at the hips until your hands meet with your partner.
- Slowly fold forward, bringing elbows, forearms and hands so they rest against each other.
- Rest equal weight against each other and release chest and belly toward the floor.
- Hold for five to seven breaths, then slowly walk toward each other, bringing torso upright and release arms down.
3. Boat Pose
Gently work the core in this playful pose that encourages balance.
- Sit facing each other with your knees bent and toes touching. Reach out for your partner’s wrists and hold them snugly (monkey grip).
- Begin to walk soles of the feet together, bringing knees slightly toward the chest.
- Using your hold as leverage, lift chests toward each other, straightening your spines as much as possible.
- Keeping the spine straight and chest lifted, slowly begin to straighten legs. This is a challenging pose; stay playful and maybe try straightening one leg at a time.
- Hold for five to seven breaths, then gently release feet back to the floor.
4. Double Down Dog
Play with your strength and face your fears in this double inversion.
- Both start in a tabletop position, one in front of the other. Walk knees and feet back 5 or 6 inches, tucking toes under so you are on the balls of the feet.
- On an exhale, lift sit bones upward and both come into Downward Dog.
- The person in front begins to slowly walk feet and hands back until it is accessible to gently walk your feet up your partner’s back to rest on the outside of their lower back. Find the back of their hips, then bring your shoulders forward to stack over your wrists into L-position. Find a place where you both are in a stable and comfortable position.
- Communicate with each other as you move through the transitions, making sure to honor each other.
- Hold for five to seven breaths, then have your partner slowly bend knees, lowering hips down toward tabletop, then child’s pose, as you slowly release feet to the floor. You can repeat with the opposite person as the “base” down dog.
Try Partner Yoga at Yoga City!
We’ve got you covered for the next date night. Join Yoga City for our special Date Night Yoga this Fall!
Debbie is a Yoga Instructor at Yoga City, Mississauga. She has been practicing yoga since 2008 and completed her 200 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in 2016 with Yoga City. Debbie has a professional background in writing and digital marketing, with a passion for Health, Wellbeing and Personal Growth. She is thrilled to be able to combine both as the Editor of the Yoga City blog. You can follow Debbie on Instagram @yoga.bee