Beyond the Pose: The Benefits of Partner Yoga

Key Points

  • Many people do yoga alone, but yoga with a partner takes two to complete the series of exercises.

  • Partner yoga increases strength, flexibility, communication, and intimacy.

  • There are many levels of yoga with a partner, from beginning to advanced.

Exercise is often a solo sport. Whether you run, lift weights, or ride your bike, you do it alone. However, working out doesn't need to be solitary. Exercising with a partner brings new life to the activity. Find a running buddy to challenge your pace. Take turns with the weights and do more reps. Yoga is another popular exercise that many people engage in alone — but have you considered performing yoga with a partner?

Writer for Lifestyle Asia and yoga aficionado Tania Tarafdar says, "When you are anxious, it can feel like your breath is uneven, like your world is closing in on you. Yoga can help increase natural anti-anxiety neurochemicals." Yoga is good for both the body and the mind. Doing yoga with a partner takes those benefits to the next level.

What Is Yoga for Two?

When you engage in yoga independently, you perform different poses and breathing methods to relax and exercise. Partner yoga requires two individuals to work together. You use your partner for balance and attempt poses you can't do on your own. You build trust, communication skills, balance, strength, and more.

Choosing a Yoga Partner

Partner yoga includes intimate poses that require touching, so it's not necessarily something to do with a stranger. Consider people in your life who would make good yoga partners. Most people attempt two-person yoga with their spouse or significant other. A close friend is another good fit. Look to a workout accountability partner or gym buddy as your second half for these exercises.

Benefits of Yoga for Two

Yoga provides many benefits, including better posture, more strength, increased flexibility, stress relief, and more. With partner yoga, you add even more benefits. Your communication and intimacy grow when you engage in yoga with someone else. With a shared experience, you spend time together you wouldn't have otherwise. Trying something new with someone is an excellent way to bring you closer together.

Couple doing partner yoga

Yoga Poses for Friends

Try yoga with a friend, gym buddy, or acquaintance. These poses aren't intimate or romantic and are suitable for platonic partnerships.

Double Tree Pose

This pose is a great place to start, as it is simple and easy. Most beginners know the tree pose; performing it with two people isn't that different. You and your partner stand close to attempt the double tree pose with your hips aligned.

Raise your arms and touch your palms. Then, lift one leg and touch the sole of your foot to your knee. The double tree pose allows you to make eye contact with your partner and build trust before moving into new poses.

Double Boat Pose

The boat pose challenges the core, but doing it with someone else relieves stress and stretches different muscles. Sit facing one another, holding hands with your knees bent and toes touching. Lean back and lift your feet to touch your soles with your partner.

Sit in this pose for a few breaths and pause. Get back into the position again and hold it for longer. See how long you can hold the pose before taking a break. The more you practice, the longer you'll be able to hold it.

Yoga Poses for Beginning Couples

Whether you married your high school sweetheart decades ago or just started dating someone, partner yoga builds communication and trust. If neither of you has engaged in yoga before, start slow with poses that are easy to understand.

Partner Forward Fold

Enjoy a good stretch as you embark on your yoga journey. Stand a few feet apart, then bend at the waist until your torso is parallel to the ground. Wrap your arms together as you bend and slightly pull to increase the stress.

This pose is an excellent way to start and stretches hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles. Once you're in the correct position, hold it briefly before releasing it.

Partner forward fold variation

The Chair Pose

The chair pose works your glutes, back, and quads. Stand back-to-back with your partner with your feet slightly apart. Lean together so your backs are flat against one another, and lace your arms for balance and stability. Together, slowly squat down and press your backs together to support one another through the pose.

Once you're in a sitting position, hold the pose for several breaths. For added strength training, try standing back up together. Do several reps, or try to stay in the pose longer next time.

Intimate Couples Yoga Poses

Married couples are comfortable enough with one another to perform intimate, romantic yoga poses. Some poses are simple, and others complicated, but any of these bring further intimacy to your relationship.

The Double Plank

The double plank is similar to a regular plank, but one of you plants atop the other. If you're the person on the bottom, get into a plank position and hold it. Your partner holds your ankles and places their feet on either side of your shoulders.

This pose is challenging as you have extra weight to support. Your partner must balance well above you and hold their core tight to complete the pose.

Planking with partner

The Flying Bow

In the last scene of the film Dirty Dancing, the lead characters dance, and Baby flies through the air, supported by Johnny. The flying bow is similar and requires much trust between partners.

Have your partner lie on the ground with their arms and legs up at a 90-degree angle. They lower their legs so you balance your hips on their feet. Your partner raises their legs again, and you extend your arms and legs into a Superman position.

This pose takes strength, balance, and concentration from both of you. Don't be afraid to fail! This leads to better attempts, laughter, and intimacy.

Spider Kisses Arm Balance

The spider kisses arm balance is challenging, but it lands the partners face to face where you can make eye contact and work through the balancing aspect together. If you're the base partner, sit on the floor with your knees bent and place your elbows atop your knees. Your partner stands behind you on the floor and puts their hands on your shoulders to balance as they rise on their toes.

Your partner gently eases themselves over until their head is on your knees. Their knees rest on your head, and your faces align. It's not an easy pose, but once mastered, you accomplish something together and maintain an intimate position as a team.

Who Benefits From Partner Yoga?

So many workouts are available to couples, so why choose partner yoga? This exercise isn't for everyone but is the perfect workout for specific pairs.

Here are a few people who could benefit from yoga with a partner:

Married Couples Looking To Connect

Relationships tend to get stale. Those in too much of a routine often want to freshen things up. Partner yoga could provide a much-needed change if you're in this situation.

You reconnect through your efforts, try something new, and spend quality time together. Certain poses are highly intimate, and some even find them romantic. Rekindle that old flame through partner yoga.

Couple in yoga chair pose

Pairs Who Want To Spend Time Together

Whether it's been a long time since you met your best friend for coffee or you and your significant other are like two ships passing in the night, partner yoga gives you an excellent excuse to spend time together. You accomplish something as a team and knock out your workout simultaneously.

If you both enjoy partner yoga, make it a priority to spend this dedicated time together regularly

Those Who Want To Take Their Yoga to the Next Level

If you want to try new things in the yoga world, find a partner, and your yoga skills advance even further. Some moves are only possible with the help and support of another person. Their balance and presence allow you to do things you've only dreamed of trying.

Someone Looking for Accountability in Exercise

You get up and go to work daily because your boss docks your pay if you don't show up. Does anyone notice if you don't work out? It's easy to skip those workouts if you don't have accountability.

Having a partner for yoga sessions ensures you stick to the exercise. That person counts on you; they notice when you don't show up. You build trust with them and build strength and flexibility for yourself.

Tips for Partner Yoga First Timers

It's not easy to try something new, but no one is born knowing how to do yoga. It's a learned workout that takes time and practice to figure out.

If you've always wanted to try yoga but hesitate because you don't want to stand out, partner yoga is a promising avenue. Someone stands by your side and supports you through the process.

Here are a few tips to consider:

Choose a Beginner Level

Unless you and your partner are both comfortable with advanced yoga, start with beginner poses. Even if you have yoga experience, partner yoga is brand new. Begin slowly with easy poses and build up from there. Mastering simple poses gives you both confidence in your communication and abilities.

Couple doing meditation and yoga together

Wear the Right Clothing

As you prepare for your yoga experience, dress correctly to make the most of the experience. Opt for tighter clothing, like yoga pants; avoid loose-fitting materials that get in the way of certain poses.

If you have long hair, tie it back in a ponytail, braid, or bun. You may be in positions that cause your hair to fall into your partner's face, which isn't comfortable for either of you.

Pick the Right Partner

Partner yoga requires touching — you won't be comfortable doing these poses with just anyone. Consider those close to you when considering whom to invite to a class. Your spouse, a good friend, or a gym accountability partner are good options.

The proper exercise routine for you and your friend, spouse, or significant other takes trial and error. Talk to the person you want to work with about making your exercise routine enjoyable. Even if you have different workout preferences, yoga could bring the two of you together.

Check With Your Doctor

If you have physical limitations or health concerns, consult your doctor before continuing with partner yoga. Yoga often helps with physical ailments, but getting a professional's advice is always best before embarking on any exercise journey.

Yoga with a partner

Give Partner Yoga a Try

Yoga benefits the body and mind; it improves strength, flexibility, and balance and increases blood flow. It allows you to meditate and calm your breathing. Share these benefits with someone close to you by performing partner yoga.

Find a yoga workout for beginner partners online and give things a trial run at home. Watch intermediate videos if you make it through that session and enjoy the occasion. Alternatively, enroll in classes locally and get tips from experts. By performing yoga for two, you and your partner reap the many health benefits while building trust and improving communication.

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