Sometimes we need to reach out for help from a friend – quite literally if we’re speaking about our asana practice. Try Yoga with a partner and combine your abilities for a deeper practice together. Team up with someone special for assistance, which will push you both beyond your boundaries and limits. This exercise not only builds your friendship and bond, but it allows you to be adventurous and attempt poses you may otherwise have shied away from. You’ll serve as amazing motivation and inspiration to one another. Joining strengths and working together is perfect for asana practice – Yoga is about unity, after all.
Try the following ten powerful poses with a partner:
Supported Easy or Half Lotus Pose
This is the perfect opportunity to work on your posture. Use your human wall to assure proper alignment of your spine while sitting in either Easy or Half Lotus Pose.
Forward and Back Bend Pose
From a seated position, as one partner exhales and folds forward the other comes to lie across their back for a backbend. This encourages a deeper forward and back bend for both partners. Hold for a few breaths and then exchange poses.
Buddy Boat Pose
Sit facing one another with your legs bent and your knees near your chest. Hold your partner’s hands or wrists and bring the heels of your feet together. Slowly straighten out your legs as you bring your feet upward. Release your shoulders, straighten your spine and lean back.
Stacked Child’s Pose
This is a great pose for balance and surrender. Have your partner come into child’s pose and then slowly and gently place your shins on either side of their back while being cautious to not press against their spine. Once you find stability, bring your head to rest between their shoulder blades and relax. Switch roles and enjoy.
Back-Bending Cobra Pose
As your partner lies on their stomach with their feet together, stand over them with your feet placed on either side of their thighs. Hold onto their hands to lift them upward into cobra and take advantage of this lock for a full backbend. Hold this pose for as long as you feel comfortable and then switch positions with your partner.
Double-Sided Stretch Pose
Stand on either side of your partner at a distance of about three feet apart. Bring your feet together and lengthen the spine as you inhale. With an exhale, bend toward your partner and bring your hand to rest on their hip while the other grabs onto their elbow. Apply force into their hip as if you are trying to push them away while simultaneously pulling their elbow in your direction for a deep, opening side stretch. Let your head hang loose and enjoy, then switch sides.
Thick Tree Pose
Come to a standing position next to your partner. Bring the side of your hips together and then raise your leg as they raise the opposite leg and guide them onto your inner upper thighs. Wrap your arms around their waist and bring your palms together into prayer position or extend them outward to fully express your thick-trunked tree. For an advanced variation, bring your arms straight up instead of holding onto their waist. Switch sides with your partner and repeat this pose.
Twin Warriors Pose
Come into Warrior I and then extend your backbend to hold on to each other’s hands or wrists. Open your chest outward and let your neck relax as your head drops back. Keep your legs bent at a 90º angle with your knees directly above your ankles. Breathe and then repeat this pose with the other leg.
Dancer Duo Pose
Stand facing your partner and bring your left hand’s palms together. Raise your right leg and hold onto your foot. Remember to keep your hips squared and facing forward. Raise your leg as high as possible. If you’d like you can come to an advanced variation by rotating the wrist to grab the outside of your foot, then bending and bringing the arm up and around as you hold your foot. Focus and be the balancing support for one another. Switch sides and repeat this pose.
Forearm Stand Pose
This is the perfect time to be brave and try inversions. Place your forearms on the mat and hold on to either elbow to measure distance and then bring your hands together with your arms bent at a 90º angle. Pull your hips up into the sky, similar to a Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Have your partner stand with their arm straight out ready to support your legs. Look at your mat and kick your legs upward as your partner blocks them from falling forward or backward. Your partner should give you some leeway of a few inches to explore your own balance in between their arms. This is a great pose to practice not only balance, but trust too.
Once you’re ready to release, bring one leg down as a cue for your partner to let go and then switch roles.
Namaste Times Two
By collaborating with a Yogi friend, you are creating a buddy balance system, which is beneficial for both of you. You will both stretch your limits (pun intended) and reach your goals sooner and easier by practicing partner asanas. With support from a friend, both mentally and physically in this case, you’ll achieve much more, much sooner. The best part, however, is how much you’ll both laugh and enjoy your practice together.
Yoga just got twice as fun – Enjoy!