Yoga for two, partner yoga, couple’s yoga, or acro yoga – it’s got a lot of names, but it’s all the same thing. Partner yoga is essentially practicing yoga with somebody completing your practice with you. 

This isn’t like your typical class where you’re next to one person or behind another though. This type of yoga, be it your significant other, friend, or someone in your class you’re meeting for the first time, is actually practiced using your partner to deepen your yoga sequence. Your partner will add to your yoga practice, just as you will add to theirs.

Yoga poses, or asanas, will be done a variety of ways during partner yoga. One example is doing the same pose as your partner, but being somehow connected, such as holding hands or using each other for balance. You can see this in a Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana) where you grasp hands and pull your bodies towards one another’s for a deeper stretch.

Sometimes you won’t be doing the same pose at all, but may be doing total opposite poses. As one partner rounds the spine in Child’s Pose (Balasana), the other may come to rest on top of that partner’s back in a supported Corpse Pose (Savasana) that opens the back by using their partner’s curled position.

Yoga for two is an exciting type of yoga to explore. Not only will you learn about a friend, lover’s, or new person’s boundaries, but you will also learn about your own. If this has piqued your interest, continuing reading to learn a little more about this connected yoga style.

Benefits of Partner Yoga

There are emotional, spiritual, and physical benefits to practicing yoga in tandem with a partner. You will become in tune with someone else’s body in a non-sexual way and could even increase intimacy between you and this person. Think of the ways you can physically connect with another person… Are there really that many? Sex is the most obvious one, but what about other ways? A hug, a kiss, or an expensive massage are the next ones that come to mind, but it’s clear the list is limited.

One of the greatest benefits of tandem yoga is being able to connect with another person physically. This does not have to be sexually, but it does allow you to form a physical bond with a person. 

You must be aware of the other’s needs by communicating with each other and responding to that need. That could mean knowing to pull your yoga partner into a deeper stretch or having your partner recognize your grunt and having them release you from a pose that was too difficult for your body.

Your yoga partner can work to support you, just as you support them. In a two-way Tree Pose (Vrksasana), you and your partner can press against one another to keep your balance. It would be fascinating to see how you and this person could work together to optimize your stability together.

 You and your partner also have the ability to provide each other with a deeper stretch by pulling on the arms, pushing the legs, or holding the hips. Two people in a couple's yoga work to support one another where sometimes props are not necessary. Your person becomes the block, the bolster, and the strap.

Not a Couple? That’s Okay!

Partner yoga is not solely reserved for those in a two-way relationship. Even if you don’t have a significant other, you still have options to give partner yoga a try.

Invite a friend! Partner yoga is what you do or do not make it, and can easily be for friends just as much as it can be for a romantic relationship. While a couple-in-love may feel that yoga is sensual, and that could be what you’re imaging, in no way does this mean that you are having a sexualized experience with your friend. Yoga for two is entirely respectful, and you will both communicate your boundaries as you go.

You can also practice with a stranger. This may be an uncomfortable concept at first, but practicing yoga with someone you have yet to meet could introduce you to a new friend, an excellent yoga buddy, or, at the very least, allow you to experience tandem yoga. Of course, this stranger should be someone you have met through a mutual yoga class. 

Research a few local studios to see if they have partner yoga, and if a partner is required to attend. More often than not, single people would love to attend partner yoga, and as long as they do, so can you! Your instructor will likely connect you with a partner during the class, but it helps to call ahead so you know for sure that there is potentially someone available.

If you’re not comfortable practicing with someone of the opposite gender, be sure to communicate this to your yoga instructor. While there are no guarantees in who will be your partner, an understanding yoga instructor will do the best he or she can to connect you with a same-sexed person. 



Beginner-Friendly Tips for Partner yoga or Yoga for 2

Yes, even beginners can try out partner yoga! Many coupled yoga poses are beginner-friendly. If you’re still a little anxious about trying it out, consider these tips:

Familiarize yourself with single-yoga (practicing yoga without a partner, so just regular yoga) and as you work through your sequence, reflect on the poses that could be practiced with a partner. Is there a position where you believe you could use some extra support with? Maybe there’s a stretch you think you could go a little deeper in? Write a list of the poses you would like to try with somebody else.

Before attempting any tricky partner-friendly asanas you’ve seen on the internet – much of it being from acroyoga, which takes a lot of guidance from a certified instructor – start small. This could mean simply holding hands in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) or twisting from Marichi’s Pose (Marichyasana III) back-to-back. Save the more difficult maneuvers for when both you and your yoga partner are ready or under the instruction of a yoga teacher.

Try a class! Whether solo, with a friend, or bringing your significant other, find a workshop or partner yoga class online. Working alongside an instructor and other like-minded yogis can help you relax and see that there is nothing to be nervous about when it comes to practicing in tandem with your yoga partner.

Two-Person Poses to Try Today

Are you ready to try out some poses? These asanas will range from beginner to intermediate, but will mostly depend on your flexibility and strength. If there is a posture you’re unsure of, save it for when you’re with a yoga instructor.

Sukhasana

This asana has you sitting in a cross-legged position, just like you probably did as a child during story time. It’s a great posture to meditate in or engage in pranayama (breath control). To bring your partner into the mix, sit back-to-back and feel each other’s backs moving along with the breath. This pose will prepare you both for your upcoming practice while introducing you to a safe touch and connection.



Utkatasana

You and your partner will face each other with a small space between you. Hold hands then lean back into Chair Pose. Try to make the thighs and buttocks parallel with the floor. You may need to readjust one or both of your stances to make this position possible. As you both engage in Chair Pose, you will need to communicate to ensure the posture is ideal for one another. To promote intimacy, you can look into one another’s eyes.

Phalakasana

This two-person Plank Pose variation involves more strength for the bottom person and better balance for the top person. The bottom partner will find a plank position, while the other person finds a plank on top of their partner. 

The top person will go to the opposite end so that their hands are grasping the bottom partner’s ankles or calves, with the feet coming to rest on the back or shoulders of the bottom partner. This plank variation is best if one partner is physically stronger or larger than the other person.

Ustrasana

An easier version of Camel Pose will have you and your partner going back to back. With some space between you and your partner’s back, you will want to be close enough for your heads to rest on each other’s shoulders, which makes this partner posture beginner-friendly. 

You will need to tuck your legs in between one another’s so your legs will go: your leg, partner’s leg, your leg, partner’s leg. If one person is much wider than the other, then the smaller person could consider placing both their legs between the legs of the wider person’s. As you lean into your back bend, come to rest the back of the head onto your partner’s shoulder and vice-versa.



Adho mukha svanasana-2

These partner-friendly postures are best if two partners are at different levels – however, the handstand position can easily be adapted for a new yogi, especially since it will be considerably adapted through the use of your supportive partner. As one partner goes into Downward-Facing Dog, the second partner will place their legs onto the lower back of the person in Down Dog. 

The partner engaging in Handstand Pose will push through their hands to gain strength in the upper body while gaining leg support and balance from their partner in Down Dog. If Handstand Pose is too difficult for you or your partner, consider Supported Headstand ( Salamba Sirsasana) instead.

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