Yoga partner poses offer a great way for you and your friend or sweetie to exercise and relax together. Partner poses allow the two of you to use each other as living, breathing yoga props to gain more benefit from each pose. Partner yoga can also be great for your relationship: It's nearly impossible to feel angry at someone when practicing yoga together.
Starting With Triangle Pose
Triangle pose provides an intense side stretch to the torso and also helps stretch the lower back, alleviating aches and pains here. However, many people miss out on the benefits of Triangle by tipping forward rather than sideways. Practicing against a wall or with a partner can correct this.
Begin by standing back to back with your partner. You can both spread your legs wide apart, then extend your arms and either hold hands or wrap your arms together at the wrist. Choose a direction of the room to tilt toward, remembering that your right will be your partner's left and vice versa (you may want to say "toward the door" or "toward the window" to avoid confusion). You will both turn your feet in the same direction so each of you has one foot pointed outward and one foot pointed inward. The little toe side of your foot will touch your partner's foot on the out-turned side.
Continuing With Triangle Pose
Inhale and lengthen your spine as you press your back against your partner's back. Exhale as both partners tilt sideways and downward in the direction of your out-turned feet. Try to remain pressed against your partner, rather than either of you folding forward and away from your partner's back. Inhale and come up. Realign your feet to point in the opposite direction, then repeat Triangle to that side.
Preparation for Partner Boat Pose
Boat pose is a great way to strengthen your abdominal muscles, but if you do it the wrong way, you can put stress on your lower back instead. The partner version of the pose helps you avoid this error. If you have not exercised in a while, you may want to do some other abdominal strengthening exercises prior to doing Boat, because it can provide a fairly intense challenge.
Continuing With Partner Boat Pose
Sit upright facing your partner with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then place your hands behind you with palms downward and slowly raise your feet off the floor to bring the soles of your feet against your partner's soles. At this point, your buttocks will lift off the floor and you will be perched on your tailbone. Use your arm strength to stabilize yourself, and strongly activate your abdominal muscles so you do not lean into your lower back. Both partners lift their hands and reach to hold hands with each other as they straighten their legs. Hold for several breaths, then slowly lower your feet back to the floor.
- Partner Yoga -- Making Contact for Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Growth; Cain Carroll and W.D. Lori Kimata
- The Joy of Partner Yoga; Mishabae Edmond and John Running
- Janie Airey/Stockbyte/Getty Images