The practice of yoga is generally thought of as an individual activity—where the yogi spends much of the time in personal introspection concentrating on his or her individual intentions, physical needs, and spiritual development. Yoga allows you to do all of that: integrate the body, mind, and spirit. But it can also inspire a sense of community when practiced with a partner. After all, the word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means to join. But partnering up can be intimidating for many. Don’t let that stand in your way. Instead, think of the new friends you’ll make and the new poses you’ll learn, all of which can benefit your individual practice.
Beyond the Physical Benefits
Besides the physical benefits like increasing your flexibility and improving your balance by using your partner’s body as a counterweight, partner yoga can help inspire emotional and spiritual awareness too. It isn’t intended to make you feel uncomfortable—quite the opposite. It can help you learn to let go and foster a sense of trust in another person, whether it’s someone you already know, a new friend, or an intimate relationship. Partner poses can also help enhance communication skills, accept human touch, learn to give and receive, take risks, inspire self-confidence, and even generate laughter, which we can all use more of.
Here are 4 partner poses that can help you go deeper into your practice to try with a friend.
Supported Double Downward Dog
You and your partner will receive deep shoulder, hamstring, and back stretches by standing and facing each other, with hands on each other’s shoulders. You’ll both walk backwards away from each other while continuing to hold onto each other’s shoulders.
Seated Forward Bend
Both you and your partner sit with legs outstretched, pressing the soles of your feet together while clasping hands for an intense leg and back stretch.
Buddy Boat Pose
This pose does it all: engages the core and stretches the hamstrings. Both of you sit facing each other, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Grabbing your partner’s wrists, walk soles of feet together and lift legs up and then straighten them.
For a deep side and arms stretch, you and your partner stand on your knees, facing forward. One partner lengthens the left leg out to the left, and the other stretches the right leg out to the right, crossing the legs in front of each other. Both of you reach your outside arms towards the center, creating a gate.
Another Way to Mix Up Your Routine – Try a Class
LHAA offers a variety of group yoga classes for any yogi skill set—from never-done-yoga-before to advanced pose classes. All classes will bring you greater core and back strength, increased balance, flexibility, and range of motion, better posture, and a deeper mind/body/spirit connection. For more information, visit the yoga class schedule here.
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