Yoga poses for couples are creative ways to connect with your partner and establish a deeper relationship and partnership. It helps in building trust and intimacy.
The key component of all couples yoga exercise is “communication”.
Maya McKenna, a certified yoga constructor and senior teacher with yoga work in Los Angeles, California tells us that communicating properly during your couple yoga practice is a great way to create a foundation for openness, confidence, and understanding for each other.
In communication, there is a need for openness and honesty among partners.
Beginners’ couple yoga poses are less risky. They include a couple of yoga stretches and beginner yoga moves.
The latter Acroyoga is more tasking and vigorous and may demand some level of training by an instructor to get the best techniques.
When practicing couples yoga its necessary you focus on your breathing, make sure you and your partner are talking to each other through each pose to ensure you’re both in the correct position and your feeling the stretch. Also, talk about how each stretch makes you both feel.
This yoga position involves sitting back- to- back with your partner. It lets partners offer each other support so their core postural muscles can relax. This enables calmer bodies that can go more smoothly into meditation. You can achieve synchronized breathing that can lead to deep kinesthetic communication with this posture.
You can try breathing in(inhaling) and exhaling at the same time or practice a yin- yang breath by inhaling while your partner exhales. A firm energetic connection will form as chakras interact and auras overlap. This practice is very suitable for mindfulness meditation than introspective meditation. Ego gets reduced as consciousness recognizes itself in another incarnation. Empathy and compassion is also developed here.
This practice improves intimacy, equality, and mutual respect between partners. It is also very relaxing and fun.
Seated centering/ grounding:
Before or after meditating together, you can sit facing your partner and offer a simple greeting like a seated bow and a gesture of Namaste. It’s a great way to start any yoga practice. Partners can share written/ spoken words with each other, they can also practice sustained eye contact as it improves their connection and communication.
This practice also allows you and your partner to connect with your spiritual and physical environment and prepare your mind for the rest of the yoga poses.
This pose is performed by sitting cross-legged facing your partner with your hands on each other’s knees. If sitting cross-legged is uncomfortable, sit up on a folded towel or pillow for more support. Take deep breaths in and out and allow for a deeper connection without words.
Sit cross-legged back-to-back with your partner and lengthen your spine. Turn your shoulders to the right and reach your right hand to your partner’s left knee. Straighten your back as you inhale and exhale into a deeper twist. Pull-on your partner’s knee for leverage.
Stay in a relaxed state and adjust the depth of the pose to suit your flexibility. After taking several slow and deep breaths, slowly return to the center and repeat action but this time to the left while your partner takes the right.
Seated side bend:
Sit cross-legged back-to-back with your partner. Touch your right hand your partner his left to the floor while keeping your sitting bones grounded. Lengthen your left shoulder away from your left hip without collapsing your right side, reach upward and rightward with your left hand. If you are shorter than your partner, hold your forearm near the elbow. If you have a strong core, reach your right hand upward as well, thus entering an unsupported side bends. Pull back from the stretch when you feel uncomfortable.
Seated forward and backbends:
Sit cross-legged back-to-back, extend your arms overhead and hold hands. Exhale as you lean forward gently pulling your partner’s arm forward and up. He can inhale as you bring him into a gentle backbend. Repeat pose but this time take your partner’s role.
Take a knee- standing position facing your partner’s back. Place your right hand halfway between your partner so as four heels are in line. Support your lower back with your thumbs and keep your belly engaged as you slowly lean back to place your head on your partner’s right shoulder. Deepen the stretch by pushing your hips forward while tucking your tailbone down to protect your lower back.
Cat cows are a great stretch for the hips, core, and back muscles. It helps with expanding the lungs and chest so be sure to focus on your breathing when in this position.
Sit facing your partner and reach for each other’s forearms. Maintain a firm grip as you release your shoulders down and back. Lift your chest up to the ceiling allowing for a slight arch in your upper middle back while you inhale. As you exhale, draw your chin into your chest, rounding through your upper middle back and spreading your shoulder blades wide apart. You will be developing trust with your partner while using his support to find a sense of spaciousness in your upper back and chest.
Back-to-back chair pose:
This pose is great for beginners as they can lean on each other for support. It is a great way to strengthen the muscles in your thighs and feet while increasing ankle mobility.
Stand back-to-back with your arms relaxed by your sides. Press your backs firmly together as you walk your feet, hip wide apart and then slightly away from your partners’. Bend your knees slowly and lower down to a chair position. At this point, take five to six steady breaths to transition out, press into each other to straighten the legs.
Assisted fish pose:
Get your partner to lay on his back with his knees lifted up and together, elevate his feet to shoulder width. Rest your back on your partner’s knees so your knees are at a comfortable height about halfway up to the ribcage. Your partner should support your head as you lower it onto his thighs and perhaps pull your arms gently to deepen your stretch. Switch positions and repeat the same pose.
Child’s pose and fish:
Have your partner rest in a child’s pose. Sit down on his hips, touching your tailbone to his and facing away from him, then slowly lower yourself down so your whole backrest on top of his. Rest lower or higher whichever way makes you comfortable. You can also extend your arms out to the sides or upward for a deeper chest opener and also bring your feet in closer and lift your knees a bit if you feel too much stretch in your lower back. This pose can be very soothing for both partners and a yin-yang breath suits it well.
Lay down with your back flat on the floor or mat. The same goes for your partner. Your head should be at your partner’s feet and your sides close to touching. You can hold hands here aligning the center of your palm with your partners. Shuffle yourself further down so you and your partner’s hands can rest comfortably on each other’s chest, his heart, or any other chakra you choose.
Sit facing your partner about three feet away; touch your toes and forefeet with your partner’s. Reach forward and grip your partner’s forearm, sync yourselves up and lift all four of your feet off the ground. Raise your shins to the level of a half- boat or point them upward for a full boat. Move your navels forward and upward to stretch your hamstrings and protect your lower backs.
Downward dog and handstands:
Your partner should take a downward dog position. Plant your hands in front of his and lift one leg over his so you are in a forward bend straddling his arms. Bring one foot into his sacrum, placing it carefully to avoid the moveable vertebrae of his lower back. Shift your weight to your arms to keep your legs light and slowly lift your other foot to his sacrum as well.
Let your partner lay on the floor facing upward. Come into a plank pose with your feet beside your partner’s shoulders and your palms facing down beside his feet. Take care to keep your navel pressing in towards your spine and your tailbone tucked in to lengthen your lower back. Your body should be as straight as a plank. You can walk on your hands for fun.
Standing shoulder opener:
You and your partner should stand with your arms reaching forward to each other’s shoulder. Walk backward keeping your arms and legs long until your torsos and arms are in a level line. Keep your arms actively reaching as you bring your chest downward, creating a nice stretch in your shoulders.
Seated forward bend:
Sit facing each other with your legs extended forward and the soles of your feet together. Reach forward and grasp your partner’s fingers, wrist, or elbows depending on how flexible you are. You can take turns pulling each other forward with care. If you or your partner has lower back pain or stiffness, keep it engaged so your vertebra doesn’t expand too much at the back.
Wide-legged forward bend:
Have your partner sit with his legs straight, knees straight, feet facing up and legs wide apart. Place your feet against his inner lower thighs or inside his heels and gently but firmly pull him towards you and also get him to pull you towards him too.
What is ACRO YOGA
As mentioned above, Acroyoga is a more vigorous type of couples exercise and could cause lead to injuries if not performed in the right way. It involves a lot of acrobatics.
ACROBATICS: This is the physical part of acro yoga that uses gymnastics techniques to build strength, flexibility trust, and teamwork between partners.
There are three primary roles in an acro yoga practice;
The base: The base is the individual or partner that has the most contact with the ground. This person often lays on the ground with his entire back torso, this enables both the arms and legs to be “bone- stacked” for absolute stability and support of the flyer. The main contact points of the base and flyer are the feet and hands.
The flyer: The flyer is the individual or partner who is usually raised off the ground by the base. The flyer takes a series of dynamic positions and the rest of the work is done by gravity. A flyer needs a lot of balance, core strength, and confidence.
The spotter: Is more like the observer or coach. This individual has an objective view of the base and flyer and his entire focus is to make sure the flyer lands safely in case of any slips. The spotter also corrects wrong poses and gives recommendations to the base and flyer on how to improve their form.
Acroyoga takes a lot of time, effort, discipline, strength training, flexibility training and technique training to perform.
You can accomplish strength training by regularly practicing push-ups, hand stands and hand walking. A lot of trusts is required in acroyoga and partners need to pay attention to each other’s movement to perfect team work.
Some acroyoga poses include;
Star side view
Bow and arrow
Front bird pose
Black bird variation
Benefits of practicing couple yoga (ACROYOGA)
It helps build relationships: Couple yoga practice helps partners to build trust, empathy and mutual respect. It gives partners the opportunity to communicate deeply and through their body movement which enhances their relationship
It improves concentration: Working closely with your partner especially when carrying out some intensive acroyoga poses requires a lot of concentration. You must consciously focus on maintaining presence without distraction. Your partner’s safety as well as yours depends on both your abilities and willingness to read each other’s physical, virtual, and verbal signals without much discussion.
Helps you to find your core: Couple’s yoga utilizes your whole body in varying planes of motions and points of balance. The dynamics of this movement require you to depend on one solid center of gravity. Being able to float and not feel like dead weight comes from staying connected deep within your core.
Helps couples confront conflict: Acroyoga prevents you from ignoring conflicts and allowing it to get worse by showing you that through opposing forces (1.e. push versus pull) you can achieve power through counterbalance which allows for differing opinions and calm resolution.
Allow you to overcome the fear of falling: Acro yoga teaches you how to defy gravity successfully through mindful deceleration. Having to hold your partner’s hands or leg for support will help you learn that skillful landing matters as much as a powerful liftoff does.