Sharing the mat
Partner Yoga and Why I Love It!
What’s partner yoga?
Partner yoga is simply two or more individuals getting on the mat to practice together! The main difference is that there is physical contact between your and the other person. Physical connections can range from holding hands in balancing postures, utilizing the other person’s body weight to get deeper into a stretch, standing or sitting back to back, all the way up to more advanced postures, with one yogi being the “base” and the other being the “flyer” (commonly known as “Acro Yoga.”)
You need not be an “advanced yogi” to be able to fun and safely practice partner yoga; all you need is a mat, some focus, your breath, and a sense of humor.
I’ll admit when I first ventured into the world of partner yoga, I was a little weary, self-conscious even. Yoga is my “me time,” and I didn’t want a partner to interfere with or judge my practice. However, partner yoga is an entirely different outlet that can be used to find yourself, express yourself, and to create bonds with friends and loved ones. In my own life, I now practice partner yoga with my friends, my sister, and my roommate.
Okay, I can dig it… But why should I try it?
So glad you asked! 🙂
It allows for connections to be made and bonds to grow.
Touch is a powerful sense, and in partner yoga, you are physically connected with and in touch with another person. This physical touch allow for you to communicate compassion and healing. In allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you are able to open your heart to invite in these sensations.
Aside from learning about and from our sense of touch and the powers it holds, partner yoga also teaches communication—how to speak to one another and how to listen. When we practice, we come to our mat to dissolve tension, not create it. The same is true in partner yoga. If something feels uncomfortable, physically or mentally, let your partner know. Don’t drain yourself or your partner of that good energy. On the flip side, listen to your partner. When I practice partner yoga, my partner and I check in on each other a lot, asking how we’re feeling or reminding each other to keep a steady breath.
It’s all about trust.
My previous point blends in nicely here. When practicing partner yoga, you are placing your trust into another person. You are trusting someone to physically support you and care for you as you flow, allowing for him or her to connect with you and even heal you. But as most yogis know, yoga is about more than just the physical practice. When I practice partner yoga, I am often more open about my intentions or prayers for the practice and I am trusting my partner with my thoughts and with my spirit. Again, I go back to the idea of communication and stress how important it is in this practice.
It’s another way to learn more about yourself.
When you’re flowing with another person, certain aspects about your personality might invite themselves onto the mat as well. Take me, for instance. In my first partner yoga class, for the first half of class, I was stressing so much about what the other person was thinking about me. My concentration was everywhere, and the thoughts were actually draining me of my energy. It wasn’t until my teacher told us to focus back on our intentions that I realized how far my mind had traveled. And how selfish of me! Partner yoga is all about energy between two people, and here I was keeping it all to myself!
It wasn’t until a few sessions later that I made the connection—this was a pattern in my life off of the mat as well. I would shut myself off from people so that they could not take my energy, only for me to use that energy for worrying and the ego.
Partner yoga asks that you open up and allow for yourself to be vulnerable. Are there any reoccurring themes showing up relationally in your life? I encourage partner yoga as a safe, loving practice to explore yourself a little more deeply.
It’s SO MUCH FUN.
You get to spend time with friends and loved ones doing what you love. You’ll probably notice that the nature of these classes have a playful feel to them, and that cheerful nature is encouraged! I chitchat, I laugh, and I relax. The practice often allows for me to invite back in that childhood wonder and playfulness that we can sometimes loss touch with. Rekindle the kid inside. Laugh. You and your partner are experiencing the practice together, which is something to smile about!
Okay, you got me hooked! Is there anything else I should know?
Though previous yoga experience is not a requirement, I do encourage an individual practice to be used with partner yoga. This is so you can explore your physical capabilities as well as your mental processes and thoughts without adding the extra stimuli of partners.
Another thing is that partner yoga is not just for couples! Like I said earlier, I practice with friends, coworkers, and family members! Partner yoga encourages love and acceptance and fosters a sense of community!