I like to think of Partner Yoga as EMPATHY in ACTION! Mindful communication occurs on the physical, mental, and emotional planes because nobody wants to get dropped, and falling too many times without support leads to pain, injury, and sometimes a closed heart.
Similar to a Partner yoga practice, relationships contain elements of commitment, risktaking, and trust in varying degrees.
Practice the following Partner yoga poses with someone you love to deepen your empathic connection to yourself and towards others and to invite some playful fun and laughter into your yoga practice.
1. The Power of Reciprocity: Plank on Plank
This pose embodies two individuals building upon one another’s strengths.
Both the base and the flyer need to maintain self-awareness as well as sensitivity to one another in order to not collapse the structure. This pose can be sustained for as long as both partners can engage in a positive exchange of effortless give and take.
Base: Hold a solid and steady Plank Pose
Flyer: Begin your Plank Pose in reverse by holding onto the base’s ankles. Once secure, extend your legs one at a time onto your partner’s shoulders. Keep your toes pointed, balancing on the top of the feet. Stay mindful not to put your feet anywhere near the spine. Keep your arms and core engaged.
When ready to step down, take one leg down at a time.
2. The Power of Eye Contact : Buddy Boat Pose
This pose allows you to feel safe with one another during a shaky and vulnerable situation. Stay aligned and grounded through three points of contact: hands, feet, and especially the eyes!
Tips: Sit facing one another with your knees bent and your feet off the ground. Hold onto each other’s forearms for the most secure grip, and connect your feet sole to sole. Begin extending your legs as straight as you can, lean back, and relax your shoulders.
You can also try syncing your breath to your partner’s for greater connection.
3. The Power of Commitment : Partner Dancer’s Pose
This pose emphasizes the importance of having a stable and trustworthy point of commitment between two people, while still allowing one another room for flexibility to flow through change.
Tips: Extend your right arm to meet your partner’s right arm and press into one another to create the support for your balance. Each of you will reach back for the outer side of your left foot with your left hand. Extend your legs back and then upwards to help maintain a steady position.
The freedom to stretch through various ranges of motion and create unique shapes is limitless as the two of you choreograph your own intimate dance. Remember to try the other side!
Accepting Diversity and Embracing Your Uniqueness
The type of mirroring that occurs during a partner yoga practice extends far beyond what poses you execute together. Cooperating and working with and not against each other’s limits and strengths allows you to accept other’s diverse perspectives and embrace your own uniqueness.
Notice how the same responses and conversations tend to show up in your other relationships and how, over time and with practice, this type of team work may help you negotiate your differences with greater ease.
Yoga reflects all of life: the situations that provoke us, the resulting conflicts, and the resolutions that lead to evolution. Do your own practice by taking care of yourself and speaking your feelings, as well as making time for active listening.
Always seek peace from within yourself and you will find it everywhere you go!
Images courtesy of Namaste Wellness and Yoga