Are you looking to explore your yoga practice from a different angle? Or perhaps you’re hoping to do something more than dinner and a movie on Valentine’s Day? If so, partner, or acro-yoga, is for you, and the Valentine’s ‘season’ presents the perfect opportunity to try it out with a friend or significant other.
Chances are good that this time of year, and no matter where you live, there is a studio or two in your area that is offering a partner or acro-yoga workshop that will match your experience level – even if you have you don’t have any!
You’ve likely heard yoga defined as “union” or “yoke”, but what does that really mean? Yoga forms a connection between your breath and body, your being and the community, and in the case of partner or acro-yoga, your literal connection with another person.
Benefits of Partner and Acro-Yoga
There are so many benefits to practicing partner yoga:
Building Trust: trust is the foundation of any relationship. Partner yoga practices allow you to explore and renew your sense of trust as you support a friend or partner through each new pose and transition.
Teamwork: You and your partner will explore working together to create the perfect balance of bodies and breath work.
Expanding Horizons: for many, yoga is about breaking new ground, growth and expanding beyond their comfort zone. The rewards are doubled when it’s done with a friend or partner who you cherish and trust.
Creating a Connection: whether through a simple touch, prolonged eye contact or pursuing the same goal, you and your partner will forge a mental and physical connection through shared focus.
A great starting exercise is partner breathing. This will get you both in a similar state of mind before trying any poses.
Sit down a yoga practice base with your backs resting against one another. Begin to breathe in an alternating sequence (as you breathe in, your partner breathes out, and vice versa). Continue this for a few minutes or until you both feel relaxed and ready to begin.
Here are a few poses to get you started (listed in order of complexity):
Since you are already seated with your backs rested against one another, you can begin with this simple pose.
Inhale and reach your arms overhead, then exhale and twist to your left. Your left arm should rest on the inside of your partner’s left knee, and your right hand should hold the outside of your left leg. Repeat this on the other side.
Double Standing Forward Bend
Stand up and face away from one another. Inhale and bring your hands overhead, then exhale into a standing forward bend. Reach your arms back and grasp your partner’s elbow or forearms, gently pulling one another deeper into the forward bend.
Wide Legged Partner Forward Fold
Face one another in a wide-legged seated position and press the soles of your feet together. Extend your arms towards one another and hold your partner’s forearms. As one partner leans forward, the other should gently lean back. Keep your arms and spine straight and hold for a few breaths. Gently release from the forward bend and switch roles.
Double Downward Dog
Start with both partners in a downward facing dog position, one person directly in front of the other. The person in front should gently walk backward until you can walk your feet up your partner (who remains in downward dog) and rest them on the outside of his or lower back. Use your arms to keep yourself steady as you hold for several breaths, then walk slowly forward and down your partner’s back.
Something New for Both of You
Partner yoga together will bring you closer together and allow you to help each other grow through your practice. This Valentine’s Day, give it a try! We guarantee that you will love it.