The basic definition of yoga is yoke or union — the work of uniting your mind, body and spirit.
Much like Tantra, partner/couples yoga deepens the practice by including your lover, friend or family member, in postures where breathing and moving together is key. And like AcroYoga, couples yoga involves one practitioner acting as the base, and the other the flier. These roles ideally, are interchangeable.
The benefits of practicing yoga with a partner are endless, but some include improved levels of communication, deeper expressions of postures and the encouragement of trust.
Experts believe that partner yoga is an important part of feeling connected to not only our loved ones, but also people in general. It helps in sexual life too to have real human touch-based connections among couples – husband and wife. Though it cannot be deemed as true yoga because actual yoga is to sync with the supreme being who controls the earth and everything in universe.
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What are Important Couple Yoga Poses?
Partner Yoga: Triple Hill
To stretch out your shoulders and hamstrings, try Triple Hill:
This pose will also increase flexibility in your spine. If you feel weird about gazing into your partner’s eyes, just tuck your chin in to your chest.
Stand facing your partner about a foot apart.
Raise your hands overhead so you can touch your palms together, with your arms shoulder-width distance apart.
Keeping your palms pressed together, both of you slowly walk backward until your hips are over your heels and your foreheads are touching.
Arch your spines down but be sure to keep your abs engaged. This will help to increase the stretch in your hamstrings, chest, and shoulders.
After five or so breaths, both of you can lower your heads down, drawing your chins to your own chests to feel an amazing stretch in the back of your necks. Hold for another five or more breaths and then both of you can lift your heads back up.
To release, slowly walk your feet towards one another coming to a standing position, and lower your arms back down at your sides.
Partner Yoga: Double Standing Forward Bend
Get over the fact that your bums are touching in Double Standing Forward Bend, because you’ll experience one of the most amazing hamstring stretches:
Doing forward bends on your own aren’t nearly as deep and satisfying as doing them with a partner. You can pull on each other to stretch your hamstrings and lower back even further and it feels amazing. Give this one a try.
Stand back to back with about six to 12 inches or so between your heels (this space will give room for your bums when you fold forward).
Both partners bend at the waist and come into a Standing Forward Bend. Reach your hands behind you and grab onto your partner’s hands. Depending on your flexibility, you can walk your hands closer, so that you are holding one another’s forearms, elbows, or shoulders. If your bums aren’t touching, walk your heels closer together.
Try to keep your legs straight and lengthen through the spine, reaching the top of your head towards the ground. Stay here for five deep breaths, or longer if you love it. When you’re both ready to come out, let go of your partner and slowly come to stand.
Partner Yoga: Down Dog
It feels wonderful to have some weight on your hips in Down Dog: and your partner on top will get to feel weightless as they stretch the front of their body and increase flexibility in the spine.
Partner Yoga: Seated Forward Bend
Seated Forward Bend is an intense stretch when you do it on your own: but when you press the soles of your feet together with someone else, and clasp hands, it takes intense to a whole new level.
Sit opposite your partner with the soles of your feet together.
Now fold forward and, if you can, reach for each other’s hands. If you can’t reach, have each person grab onto either end of a hand towel or a strap.
It’s okay if your torso isn’t close to your legs. As long as you are feeling the stretch in your lower back and hamstrings, you are doing it right.
Depending on how flexible you are, you can tuck your chin in and relax your chest down to your thighs, trying to keep your legs straight to increase the stretch in your hamstrings. If it’s really easy, release your forehead towards your shins.
Talk to each other throughout the entire experience. Make sure that neither of you are feeling pain or discomfort (this is supposed to feel good). When you are ready to come out, release hold of your partner, bring your hands to either side of you legs and walk them in towards your hips, slowly lifting your torso back up.
Partner Yoga: Practicing Boat pose
Practicing Boat pose with someone else will deepen the stretch in your hamstrings while working your core: When you do Boat pose on your own, it totally works your abs, but when you do it with a partner, it changes the stretch and works your hamstrings.
Sit opposite your partner, with about three feet between you.
Hold hands on the outside of your legs. Raise both legs and place the soles of your feet together.
Work on finding your balance and, when you’re ready, try straightening your legs. You may need to come out of the pose and adjust the distance between you and you partner, moving an inch or two apart if your hamstrings are less flexible, and moving a couple inches closer if you are more flexible. The least flexible person is always in charge, so make sure you do the pose in a way that’s comfortable to both partners. It’s OK if one or both of you can’t straighten your legs. If it helps, you can work on one leg at a time, keeping the opposite foot planted on the floor.
As you hold the pose, work on drawing your lower back in (trying not to hunch or round your spine) and engaging your abs. You can either gaze towards each other, or drop your heads back and gaze behind you.
Stay here for five or more breaths and then slowly lower your legs down to the ground and release your partner’s hands. If your lower back is sore, take a counter-pose such as Child’s Pose on your own, or do Double Sandwich together.
Partner Yoga: Forward Bend Lounge
This relaxing partner yoga pose, Forward Bend Lounge, gives one person and amazingly deep stretch in the hamstrings and lower back, and stretches the abs, chest and arms of the person on top. The person on the bottom gets an amazing stretch for the backs of their legs, and the person on top feels an incredible lengthening in their spine.
Partner #1 sits on the ground with his legs extended straight out in front of him. He folds forward as far as he can, coming into a Seated Forward Bend.
Partner #2 gently sits down on Partner #1’s sacrum at the base of his spine (aka back of pelvis), and begins to lie down on Partner #1’s back. Partner #2 should move slowly because this is a really intense stretch for Partner #2’s hamstrings. Partner #2 can stay here (as in the picture shown to the right), or if it feels OK, she can extend her arms overhead and straighten her legs.
Both partners talk to each other, making small adjustments if necessary. When either partner is ready to get out of the pose, Partner #2 lifts her torso and sits up.
Then each partner switches roles.
Partner Yoga: Double Gate Pose
If you love opening your hips and hamstrings, then you’ll love Double Gate pose: You get an even deeper stretch in your spine and the sides of your body when you do it with a partner.
Partner 1 (green shirt) and Partner #2 (coral shirt) sit facing one another in Gate pose, with their right legs straight and left knees bent. They touch their knees and the inside of their ankles together.
Now both partners lean over their right leg, reaching their left hand over their head towards their right foot. At the same time, they also reach their right hand underneath their partner’s bottom ribs. As they continue to breathe, they gently pull on their partner, assisting them to get a deeper twist.
They stay like this for five or more breaths, then they let go of their partner and come to sit up. Each partner straightens out their left leg, bends their right knee and they do this pose on the other side.
Partner Yoga: Flying Bow Pose
Now it’s time for something a little more challenging but also a lot more fun: Flying Bow is a type of backward flying pose, where the person on top has their back facing their partner.
If you’re new to this kind of flying pose, make sure you do it with a spotter, or better yet, a yoga instructor. She’ll be able to offer verbal cues to help you get up and stay balanced, since it’ll be hard for you and your partner to see what’s going on. Be sure to move slowly and with control. Also, you don’t have to do this with a guy on the bottom. A woman is strong enough to lift someone too.
Partner #1 (on the bottom) lies flat on his back on a mat.
He bends his knees and Partner #2 (on top) stands by his hips and sits on the soles of his feet. She can hold onto his ankles for support. Partner #1 wants to lower his knees close to his ribs but doesn’t want to rest them on his chest, since it’ll be really hard to lift his partner from this position.
Then Partner #1 slowly straightens his legs up towards the ceiling, so his feet are right over his hips. Straightening his legs will stack his bones so he’ll hardly be using any muscle strength to hold Partner #1 up.
When they both feel stable, Partner #2 can let go of Partner #1’s ankles.
You can stay here or Partner #2 can bend her knees and reach for her own ankles. Stay like this for five breaths and then let go. To come out of this pose, Partner #1 bends his knees slightly and shifts his feet away from his torso, so Partner #2 can place her feet gently on the ground.