Partner yoga, or couples yoga, is a style of asana practice where two people join together to create and synchronize their movements, creating new postures or helping one another to achieve a deep stretch. It’s a great way to explore different movements of the body, have some fun, and build trust with your yoga partner. When you work with another person you can explore postures and transitions in a new and exciting way. You can build a sequence together flowing through a series of asanas with intuition, or you can transition from pose to pose with communication and direction. Each person must be willing to communicate, trust, and step outside of their comfort zone to work together.
Partner yoga differs from acro yoga, because partner yoga is focused on how you can achieve a deeper stretch or support a transition together. In other words, you will both be mutually benefitting from the asanas and sequences. Whereas acro yoga is focused more on strength and acrobatics with two unique roles: the flier and the base. Some postures overlap in acro yoga and partner yoga, but they have their own unique styles.
The best things to be learned from partner yoga are clear communication, trust, and playfulness. It’s a great way to connect with another person, be that a stranger in your yoga class or a friend/intimate partner. Partner yoga practice encourages experimentation and fun and utilizes bodyweight, leverage, and kinaesthetic awareness. This playful practice also evokes the best kind of yoga – laughter! For beginners, it’s easier to work with someone who is a similar size to you – it will make balancing easier when you’re learning the basics. Partner yoga gives you immediate feedback about how you interact with people; consider this practice as an opportunity to develop your communication skills, communicate your own needs, and listen to and support another person.
Some examples of partner yoga poses:
DOUBLE CHAIR POSE: Using your partner’s back as support, you can interlace your arms and engaging your quads and core, sink down into your utkatasana (chair pose) with your backs pressing into one another.
PLANK ON PLANK: One person takes a plank, and the other, grabbing a hold of the bottom person’s ankles, will plank on top of them, placing their feet their partner’s shoulders. Both will need to engage the core and trust each other!
DOUBLE NAVASANA: Pressing the soles of the feet together and grabbing hold of your partners wrists, extend your legs up into a navasana (boat pose) position and use your partners arms for support. This doubles as a hamstring stretch and a core workout.
BACK TO BACK TRIANGLE: Each partner takes a triangle pose, back to back mirroring one another’s feet, and interlacing the arms so that the palms touch, you fold down in the same direction and support one another in the stretch.
Yoga is often an individual practice, but with partner yoga you can learn to let go, create balance, build mutual trust and support, improve your communication skills and self-awareness, and feel, move, and breath with another person. And it’s fun! So why not give it a go for yourself.