Doing yoga by yourself is great and all, but you
could share the experience with someone else. There are countless partner yoga poses you can do with a friend or significant other as a way to deepen your stretches, build your relationship — or simply have more fun.
yoga poses are an opportunity for two people to challenge themselves together, says Steph Ball-Mitchell, a certified yoga teacher and founder of Online Yoga School. “Overcoming the challenge with one another strengthens your bond,” she tells Bustle, whether you do poses with a friend or your boo. They also make for a fun way to work out together, especially if you’d like some assistance with stretching your tight hamstrings.
When you do partner poses with an actual partner, of course, you’ll definitely feel closer, both physically and figuratively. You’ll have to communicate — and quite literally lean on each other — as you maneuver into tricky postures. Plus, it’ll be super cute if you end up toppling over. “It teaches you to physically and mentally let go,” says
Patrick Franco, yoga director at YogaRenew Teacher Training. “It's a completely different experience than rolling out your own mat and practicing on your own in silence.”
Whether you’re looking for a simple stretch to try with a pal or a challenging pose that’ll require a lot of mutual effort — and lots of finagling — with a partner, read on below for seven different partner yoga poses to try.
Seated Spinal Twist
Franco calls this pose a great “icebreaker” due to its simplicity.
- Sit cross-legged back-to-back with a partner.
- Both of you will extend your arms out to the sides in a “T” shape.
- You will twist to the right and place your right hand on your partner’s left knee.
- Rest your left hand on your right knee.
- Your partner will twist the opposite way and place their left hand on your right knee.
- Hold for a few breaths.
- Repeat on the other side.
Partner Boat Pose
According to Ball-Mitchell, the partner boat pose is a seated
balancing posture that activates your core, lengthens the spine, and strengthens your hamstrings and hips.
- Sit down and face your partner.
- Both of you will bend your knees so that they are pointing up at the sky.
- Keep the soles of your feet on the ground.
- Reach towards each other and clasp hands.
- Both of you will lift a leg on the same side and touch the soles of your feet.
- Both of you will start to straighten your legs upwards with the toes pointing up.
- Do the same on the other leg.
- Both partners will engage the core and lengthen through the crown of the head.
- Hold for 3 to 5 breaths before releasing.
Partner Standing Forward Fold
Ball-Mitchell also likes this partner yoga pose to
open the back body, stretch the hips, strengthen the thighs, reduce stress and anxiety, and help you connect with your partner. Think of it as a regular forward fold with an extra reach.
- Start in a standing position facing away from your partner.
- Keep your heels about six inches away from your partner’s heels.
- Inhale to find length in your spine.
- As you exhale, you both hinge at the hips to fold forward.
- Reach your hands behind your legs.
- Clasp the front of your partner’s shins as your partner does the same to you.
- Hold for 3 to 5 breaths and then release.
tree pose is a well-known solo yoga move, it’s also something you can do with a partner, says yoga instructor Leslie Shull. As you give it a try, Shull recommends noticing how you and your pal help each other stay balanced.
- Stand to the left of your partner.
- Both of you will plant your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Find a stable base on your left foot.
- Bring your right foot up to lightly touch your left ankle, calf, or thigh. Your partner will be lifting their left foot.
- Feel your individual balance.
- Extend your arms out to the sides like tree limbs.
- Rest your right hand on your partner’s left shoulder.
- Have them rest their left hand on your right shoulder.
- Take a few breaths as you balance together.
Lizard On A Rock
Franco says this pose is a little complex, but still worth it for the
great back stretch.
- Person one starts in child’s pose.
- Person two sits back to back with person one.
- Person two will lean back to extend backward over the person in child’s pose.
- Person two can extend their arms overhead as person one clasps their wrists for a deep stretch.
- Person two can extend their legs as well for a full-body stretch if it feels comfortable.
- Take a few breaths then switch positions.
Seated Partner Forward Fold
Another body-lengthening option is a seated forward fold, says
Madeline Alfiero, a certified Yoga Alliance yoga instructor. “This is a great partner pose for beginner, intermediate, and advanced yogis,” she tells Bustle. “This pose focuses on lengthening and stretching the hamstrings, the mid/low back, as well as the lats.”
- Sit down facing your partner.
- Both of you will extend your legs out as wide as possible.
- Touch the soles of your feet to your partner’s feet.
- Once your feet are lined up, grab each other’s forearms.
- One person will slowly start to hinge forward from the hips as the other pulls gently.
- The partner who is hinging forward should keep extending until they feel a deep stretch in their hamstrings.
- Hold for 3 to 6 breaths.
- Slowly start to rise up.
- Once both partners are back in their starting positions, the second partner will begin to hinge forward.
- Hold for 3 to 6 breaths.
Downward Dog & L-Shaped Handstand
Ready for a challenge? “This is a classic partner pose that's fun and playful and goes upside down,” Franco says.
- Person one starts in
downward dog yoga pose.
- Person two stands by person one’s hands and places their own hands on the floor.
- Person two will gently raise one leg at a time and place a foot on person one’s lower back.
- Person two ends up in an L-shaped position.
- Switch positions.
Sources: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP, certified yoga teacher, founder of Online Yoga Schoo Patrick Franco, yoga director at YogaRenew Teacher Training Leslie Shull, NBC-HWC, MBA, RYT200, yoga instructor Madeline Alfiero, certified Yoga Alliance yoga instructor
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