The Art of partner yoga is not only fun; the practice brings people together and nurtures trust and communcations. Michaela Olexova, of wellbeing website The Baoli, explains.
Bringing people together, sharing a yoga practice through conscious breathing, the importance of human touch and freedom of movement - these factors all contribute to the essence of a partner yoga practice.
This fun, challenging form of yoga can also develop and deepen mutual trust and communication.
What is Partner Yoga?
It is a fun and inspiring exercise that nurtures relationships between lovers, family, friends, children and even work colleagues.
Partner yoga focuses on building strength and flexibility of the body, balancing energy flow and improving focus through traditional asanas.
The difference, of course, is that they are performed together with a partner, helping the individual to achieve more than he or she could do alone.
It is a perfect opportunity for those who have enjoyed a ‘single' yoga practice and now would like to explore a new experience - as well as those keen to introduce yoga to their loved ones.
Benefits of Partner Yoga
You and your partner will both benefit from a wide range of simple stretches as well as more advance and challenging postures, synchronized breath and shared energy, using the extra support and adjustments of each other.
Partner yoga can be practiced by anyone at your own home or garden, corporate in boardrooms through a team building program or at your local yoga studio under a supervision.
• Sharing the practice with loved ones and nurture relationships
• Benefitting from a synchronized breath and share single energy
• Developing mutual trust, communication and harmony relying on each other's support
• Meeting a basic human need of touch and receive healing benefits similar to a massage or Reiki
• Experiencing the freedom of movement, using the extra support and adjustment
• Improving your strength, flexibility or focus and balance your energy flow
Things to be aware before you start
At all times keep in mind that everyone has a different level of skill, strength and flexibility.
Always check and communicate with your partner to ensure he/she feels comfortable and develop each new asana gradually, respecting both body's limitations and never forcing a pose.
You might feel the fear at first but try to confront and face your fears, feel safe and let go while being aware of your breath and trying to synchronize it with your movement.
Last but not least, ensure you have a freedom of movement without tangling yourself in too many layers, and remember to wear comfortable yoga clothes that are not too baggy or loose.
Try one of these simple Partner Yoga Asanas
Spinal twist - sit on the floor in cross-legged or half-lotus position, facing each other. Keep your back straight and reach your right arm behind your lower back towards your left hip. Then stretch your left arm diagonally and reach for your partner's right hand, grabbing firmly. Your partner does the same reaching for your right hand. Once the position is established, start breathing deeply. Straighten your spine upwards on inhale and pull towards yourself with your left hand on exhale - allowing you both to open the spinal twist a bit further. Hold for 10 breaths and then change sides.
Boat pose - this is a great anasa to practice with your baby, as you are facing another challenge holding his/her weight. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, then sit your baby on your shins just behind your knees holding him/her tight. Lengthen your tailbone and, using your core muscles, lift your legs slowly, keeping your knees bend and lifting your shins parallel to the floor. Open your chest to straighten your spine a bit further and breathe deeply into your belly, holding for 6-10 breaths.
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