Partners can use their body weight to help you increase your flexibility
It’s rewarding to accomplish a new yoga pose that you’ve been practicing for a while, but it feels even better when sharing that excitement with a friend. In this video, Health contributing expert Kristin McGee shows us 10 yoga poses that you can do with a buddy. Partners can use their body weight to help you increase your flexibility in a pose like forward fold or help stabilize your balance and act as a counter-weight for one-legged standing poses like tree. And if you’re looking for something new to do with a romantic partner, this video is for you–exercising and trying new things with your loved one is said to help maintain healthy relationships and increase sex drive. Watch the video to learn this series of partner yoga asanas.
Don’t have time to watch? Read the full transcript:
Hi, I'm Kristin McGee. Today we’re showing you how to do fun partner poses. Partner poses are great because they give you a sense of how much further and deeper you can go into your own practice. Plus, it’s fun to be able to assist someone else in his or her practice, and it’s always great to have human contact. So often in life we are shy, but yoga is a wonderful place to find that union. Let’s get started.
Supported Downward-Facing Dog: Stand facing your partner and put your hands on each other’s shoulders. Then start to walk backwards away from each other while still holding shoulders. You’ll feel a great stretch in the shoulders, hamstrings, and back.
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Partner Tree: Stand side by side next to your partner. Both partners get into a tree position, placing their right foot against the inside of their left thigh. Next, thread your hands around your partner’s waist and lift the outside arm up. Try to touch each other's hands overhead to create an arch.
Acrobat Pose: Sit down on the mat and have your partner face away from you, standing tall with their feet hip-width apart. The seated partner will place the arch of their foot around the sides of the other partner’s Achilles. The standing partner will then bend down into a forward fold. Next, both partners grab each other’s wrists in an acrobat grip. The standing partner will then bend into a forward fold to get a deep hamstring stretch as the seated partner supports her. Switch positions so each partner can feel the stretch.
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Back-to-Back Pose: Sit back to back with your partner so the spines are aligned. Next, both partners twist their torsos to the left, placing their right hands on their left knees and their left hands on their partner’s right knee to aid each other’s stretches. Then twist to the other side.
Next, swivel back to center and raise arms up like cactus branches. Have both partners loop their hands together, so the elbows are pressing against each other. One partner leans forward for a great shoulder-opening stretch. Hold the stretch for about five to eight breaths, then switch. This gives your digestive tract a great massage and helps you stay regular.
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Next, still seated on the mat, both partners place their feet hip-width apart out in front of their body. Both partners hook inner elbows together as they try to come up to stand together. Feel free to reverse the movement and try to come back down to the mat in the same way.
Supported Down Dog Pose: Have one partner get into a downward-dog position. The other partner will place her thumbs on her sacrum area and press down gently. This pressure gives a nice stretch down the backs of the legs and in the waist.
Lizard On A Rock Pose: Have one partner get into a child’s pose. The other partner will sit on her back, resting hips against each other. Next, the top partner will extend her legs out long in front of her and raise her arms back behind her head to get a deep back bend that opens up the chest. The bottom partner below will get a stretch along the back of the body. Switch positions.
Gate Pose: Have both partners come to stand on the knees, facing forward. One partner lengthens her left leg out to the left, while the other lengthens her right leg out to the right, crossing the legs in front of each other. Both partners then reach their outside arms over towards the center, creating a kind of gate overhead. This move strengthens the arms and stretches the side body.
Partner Straddle Pose: Both partners get into a seated straddle position facing each other, with feet pressed against each other. Both partners hold opposite wrists as one partner leans back and the other leans forward. Then switch positions so both partners feel a stretch.
Partner Boat Pose: This is a great move for engaging the core. Sit facing your partner, each with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift out of your lower back and lean your upper body back slightly, engaging the core. Both partners float the legs up to 45 degrees, touching the soles of the feet together and grabbing opposite wrists for a supported boat pose.
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Butterfly Pose: Have one partner sit on the mat with the knees dropped open to the sides in a butterfly pose, bending forward with the head dropping down toward the mat as they grab hold of the standing partner’s ankles in front of them. The standing assistor then takes their hands to the seated partner’s inner thighs and rolls them back in space, as she starts to walk backwards. This is a great way to open up the seated partner’s inner thighs and hips.
Seated Forward Bend Assist: One partner sits on the mat with legs extended out long in front of her. The other partner sits behind her, placing her foot in between the shoulder blades of the front partner’s back. Then, the assister takes the front partner’s hands behind her and lifts them up to open the chest. This is a great pose for posture.