Alexandra has taught Yoga since 2009. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Business and is currently taking advanced hours with Judith Hanson Lasater. Her Yoga training includes in-depth therapeutics study with Gabriel Halpern in Chicago,...
Looking to strengthen your relationship? It's all about partner yoga poses!
Let's be real: Even when you are crazy about your partner, it can be so easy to get into a relationship rut. We all fall into those patterns of eating dinner and then retiring to the couch for exactly 1.75 hours of Netflix before hitting the hay — every night. It's comforting... but it can also get monotonous. Adding a little somethin' somethin' into your routine can totally reignite that spark, and yoga is just what the doctor ordered.
These poses for partners can be a little challenging, but are also great for beginners — you don't need to be a yoga expert to get through this practice. Just remember to always listen to your body and don’t do anything that hurts. And don't forget to laugh and have a blast connecting with your partner!
1. Partner breathing
Start in a seated position with legs crossed at the ankles or shins, with your backs resting against each other.
Rest hands on thighs or knees and allow yourself to feel and connect with your partner.
Begin to notice how the breath feels as you inhale and exhale; especially notice how the back of the rib cage feels against your partner's.
Begin to "breath alternate" with your partner, so as you inhale, he exhales; as he inhales, you exhale. Practice for three to five minutes.
This is a gentle way to connect with your partner, helps open the heart and is an easy way to connect with your breath.
Start standing next to each other facing the same direction.
Standing a few feet apart, bring palms toward each other with the arms in a T shape, or draw the elbows and palms together in a cactus shape.
Begin to shift weight onto your right foot and have your partner shift weight onto their left foot.
Draw the opposite leg into tree pose by bending the knee and bringing foot to the ankle, calf or inner thigh of the standing leg.
Balance for five to seven breaths, then release and turn around to face the opposite direction and repeat on the opposite side.
Balance poses encourage focus, and this specific pose invites playful focus while being a gentle hip opener.
5. Double down dog
Both start in a tabletop position one in front of the other, walk knees and feet back 5 or 6 inches, tucking toes under so you are on the balls of the feet.
On an exhale, lift sit bones upward and bring the body into a downward V shape so you both start in a traditional downward-facing dog pose.
Begin to slowly walk feet and hands back until it is accessible to gently walk your feet to the outside of their lower back, finding the back of their hips until you are both in a stable and comfortable position.
Communicate with each other as you move through the transitions, making sure to honor each other.
Hold for five to seven breaths, then have your partner slowly bend knees, lowering hips down toward tabletop, then child's pose, as you slowly release feet to the floor. You can repeat with the opposite person as the "base" down dog.
This is a gentle inversion that brings length in the spine. It also inspires communication and closeness.
6. Partner forward-fold
From a seated position facing each other, extend legs out to a wide V-shape with kneecaps facing straight up and soles of the feet touching.
Extend arms toward each other, holding opposite palm to forearm.
Inhale and lengthen up through the spine.
Exhale, as one person folds forward from the hips and your partner sits back, keeping the spine and arms straight.
As you relax into the pose, allow yourself to soften into it. Stay in the pose for five to seven breaths.
To come out of the pose, release each other’s arms and bring torsos upright. Repeat in the opposite direction, bringing your partner into the forward fold.
Feels so good! This pose opens the hamstrings and calms the nervous system.
7. Buddy boat pose
Find a comfortable seated position facing each other with your knees bent and toes touching. Reach out for your partner’s wrists and hold them snugly.
Begin to walk soles of the feet together, bringing knees slightly toward the chest.
Using your hold as leverage, lift chests toward each other, straightening your spines as much as possible.
Keeping the spine straight and chest lifted, slowly begin to straighten legs. This is a challenging pose; stay playful and maybe try straightening one leg at a time.
Hold for five to seven breaths, then gently release feet back to the floor.
This pose is energetic and gently works the core. It is playful and encourages laughter.
After finishing the poses, come to a neutral position lying next to each other on your backs in corpse pose, maybe resting hands together gently. Allow the body to completely relax with your eyes closed. Feel the closeness with your partner and your connection to the present moment. Relax in this pose for three to five minutes before completing your practice.
Get to know your partner and yourself better with these duo-driven poses. If you and your partner love them, look for acroyoga classes in your area to explore more.
Originally published February 2014. Updated July 2017.