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Partner yoga provides the opportunity to be in an interdependent relationship. Unlike some yoga, where one person is doing the yoga posture and another is assisting, partner yoga poses are mutually beneficial. Let’s take a traditional yoga pose such as ‘trikonasana’ (triangle) as an example. Partners stand back to back both positioned in triangle pose, pressing their backs into each other and linking arms as they both move into the full posture. Together they have created a new pose called double triangle. This produces a completely different feeling than performing the posture alone. They are both giving and receiving support and receiving benefits from the joint posture at the same time.
Double Triangle Pose
This posture lengthens the entire body, improves digestion and stimulates the kidneys and the adrenals.
- Stand back to back with your partner and open your feet about a metre apart.
- Touch hands, wrists and forearms, depending on your different arm length, and raise your arms out to your sides, parallel to the ground.
- Point your foot in the direction you are about to bend. Relax and breathe.
- In double triangle pose, partners mirror each other’s movements.
- Partner one, press your right hip slightly to your right as you exhale and extend your upper body to the left. Lower your left hand toward your leg and your right hand up to the sky.
- Partner two, follow partner one’s movements.
- Cross lower arms with your partner so your hand is supported by your partner’s leg.
- Cross upper arms with your partner, and reach toward the sky.
- Make sure your back and hips are pressed together and look up at your raised arm.
- Keep both of your legs straight and your hips facing forward as you bend.
- Hold the pose for five deep breaths.
- Return to centre and take a few deep breaths before practicing the pose on the other side.
Double Butterfly Pose
This is a relaxing pose that aligns the spine, opens the hips and stretches the inner thighs.
- Sit back to back. Bring the soles of your feet together about 10-15centimetres in front of you.
- Inhale and reach your hands back to your partner’s knees. Exhale and gently press your partner’s knees toward the floor. Remember to communicate with your partner, and ask them if the pressure is too much or not enough.
- Relax your hips, thighs, knees and ankles.
- Keep your back straight and firmly pressed against your partner’s back.
- Relax your chest and shoulders.
- It may be necessary to adjust the location of your feet until you feel comfortable and relaxed.
- Hold the pose for five breaths.
Double triangle and double butterfly are just two of the many postures partners can practice together. Partner yoga is meant to be light-hearted and fun. As you practice, maintain a sense of humour and creativity. Remind yourself not to be too serious, or worry if you are doing a posture just right. Sometimes we place so much importance on being ‘good’ at yoga poses we forget to enjoy them.
Through yoga you learn to re-direct criticism, and instead look at each other with understanding and compassion. Finding lightness and joy as you practice yoga together will establish a lasting bond as you develop a connection with each other, and the world around you.