Yoga poses for two people are an intriguing subset of the vast and intricate tapestry of yoga practice. This discipline, often referred to as partnered or duo yoga, transforms the solitary practice into a deeply interconnected experience. It blends the realms of physical postures, trust, and mutual energy, offering practitioners the chance to explore advanced postural nuances and foster deeper human connections.
These dual poses challenge traditional yoga paradigms by introducing the dynamics of balance, support and synchronicity. They demand a heightened sense of awareness and communication, going beyond the merely physical to explore interpersonal boundaries, trust-building, and the profound synergy achievable when two bodies move as one.
Indeed, yoga poses for two people epitomize the confluence of individual strength and collective harmony, adding a rich dimension to the age-old practice of yoga. In this article, LotusBuddhas will introduce 12 poses that you can incorporate with your partner in yoga practices.
1. Double Downward-Facing Dog
Double downward-facing dog is a cooperative adaptation of the basic solo pose of Adho Mukha Svanasana, or downward-facing dog, a foundational pose in many yoga practices. This collaborative adaptation requires cooperation and synchronization between two individuals, promoting trust and enhancing understanding of balance and connection.
How to do double downward-facing dog pose:
- Initial position: The first individual, referred to as the base, adopts the traditional downward-facing dog pose. This entails starting on hands and knees in a tabletop position. Hands should be positioned shoulder-width apart, and fingers spread wide for a sturdy base. Pushing through the hands, the hips are lifted towards the ceiling, heels pressing towards the ground, forming an inverted “V” with the body. The base’s spine should be elongated, tailbone reaching towards the ceiling, and the head aligned between the arms, looking towards the feet.
- Positioning the second individual: The second participant, referred to as the flyer, approaches the base from the front. Placing hands on the ground approximately a foot in front of the base’s hands, the flyer then places one foot at a time onto the base’s sacrum or the lower part of the spine. This positioning allows the flyer’s hips to be lifted upwards, aligning the hips over the shoulders, mirroring the base’s downward-facing dog pose.
- Alignment and balance: It’s crucial for both participants to maintain strong hand placements, actively pressing the ground away. The base needs to ensure a robust and stable foundation, engaging the core muscles, and maintaining the strength of the arms and legs. Meanwhile, the flyer must focus on achieving a similar inverted “V” shape, pushing through the hands and engaging the core to find balance.
- Dismount: Communication is key. When ready to dismount, the flyer should inform the base. Gradually lowering one foot at a time to the ground, the flyer returns to a standing position, followed by the base coming down from downward-facing dog.
Here are some benefits of double downward-facing dog pose:
- Improves balance and coordination: The need to maintain balance in this pose can help to improve overall balance and coordination.
- Strengthens the core: The core muscles are used to stabilize the body in this pose, which can help to strengthen them.
- Opens the chest and shoulders: The chest and shoulders are opened in this pose, which can help to improve flexibility and range of motion in these areas.
- Relieves stress and anxiety: The inversion of this pose can help to calm the mind and relieve stress and anxiety.
- Promotes a sense of togetherness: The teamwork required to do this pose can help to promote a sense of togetherness and connection between partners.
- Improves digestion: The downward-facing dog pose can help to improve digestion by stimulating the abdominal organs.
- Stimulates circulation: The downward-facing dog pose can help to improve circulation by increasing blood flow to the head, neck and arms.
- Relieves leg pain and ankle pain: The downward-facing dog pose can help to relieve leg pain and ankle pain by stretching the calves and Achilles tendons.
- Reduces body mass index (BMI): The downward-facing dog pose can help to reduce BMI by burning calories and improving muscle tone.
Double downward-facing dog is a challenging pose that can be beneficial for both partners. It offers the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the foundations of downward-facing dog, while also fostering trust, improving balance skills, and promoting a sense of togetherness.
2. Partner Forward Fold
Partner forward fold is a pose that can be integrated into your yoga practice to promote a deeper understanding of connection, balance, and the dynamics of collaborative movement. Like all collaborative poses, open communication, respect for each participant’s flexibility limits, and mutual trust are essential for safe and effective practice.
How to do partner forward fold pose:
- Initial position: Both individuals stand erect, back-to-back, maintaining close proximity but without leaning against one another. Feet should be hip-width apart, offering a stable base. The spine is kept elongated, and the crown of the head reaches upwards.
- Initiating the fold: Synchronizing breaths, both individuals initiate a forward fold by hinging at the hips. As they descend, maintaining a straight spine is paramount, ensuring the fold’s origin is from the hips and not the lower back. Arms remain relaxed by their sides.
- Connecting and deepening the pose: As the descent continues, the aim is for the arms to reach outwards and for the hands or wrists of both participants to meet. Once this connection is established, gentle tension between the participants can be used to deepen the stretch. The hands or wrists form an anchoring point, allowing both individuals to stretch further while using each other’s weight as a counterbalance.
- Maintaining alignment: It is crucial to monitor the alignment of the spine and hips. The spine should remain elongated and the hips squared. Collapsing or rounding the back should be avoided, as should any torsion or twisting of the hips.
- Returning to standing position: To emerge from the pose, both participants should engage their core muscles, press down through their feet, and with synchronized movements, slowly rise back to an erect standing position. The grip on each other’s hands or wrists aids in maintaining balance during this ascent.
- Concluding and reflecting: Once upright, participants can release their grip and stand independently. Taking a moment to reflect on the sensation and alignment achieved during the pose can be beneficial.
Here are some benefits of the partner forward fold pose:
- Improves balance and coordination.
- Strengthens the core.
- Opens the chest and shoulders.
- Relieves stress and anxiety.
- Promotes a sense of togetherness.
- Builds trust and communication.
- Can be a fun and challenging way to connect with your partner.
The partner forward fold pose is a great way to build trust and communication with your partner. It is also a challenging pose that can help improve your balance and flexibility. If you are new to yoga, it is best to start with a simple variation of the pose, such as standing back-to-back with your partner. As you become more experienced, you can try more challenging variations.
3. Twin Trees Pose
Twin trees is a partner yoga pose that is a variation of the Tree Pose (Vrksasana). In this pose, two practitioners stand facing each other, their feet together and their arms intertwined. The goal is to maintain balance in this mirrored stance, which requires a high degree of interdependence and cooperation.
Twin trees pose is a great way to improve balance, strength and coordination. It also teaches the importance of teamwork and trust. When you are in this pose, you are literally relying on your partner to help you stay balanced. This can be a very empowering experience, as it teaches you that you are stronger together than you are apart.
If you are new to yoga, LotusBuddhas recommend practicing the Tree Pose on your own before attempting the twin trees pose. Once you have mastered the solo pose, you can start practicing the partner pose with a trusted partner.
How to do twin trees pose:
- Initial position: Two individuals stand side by side, maintaining a distance of about a foot between them. The inner feet (those closest to each other) are firmly planted on the ground, providing a stable foundation.
- Engaging the pose: Both participants turn their outer foot’s knee outward, opening the hip. Then, they lift the outer foot, placing its sole either against the inner calf or the inner thigh of the standing leg. It’s important to avoid placing the foot directly on the knee joint to prevent undue stress.
- Stabilizing through mutual support: The arm closest to the partner wraps around the other’s waist, securing a stable and supportive connection. This mutual support serves as an anchor, enabling both individuals to find equilibrium more effortlessly than if attempting the pose solo.
- Arm positioning: The free arm, not wrapped around the partner, can be raised skyward, with the palm facing inward. If both participants feel stable, their raised hands can meet above their heads, palms touching, further emphasizing the mirrored symmetry.
- Alignment and Focus: Throughout the pose, participants should ensure a straight and tall posture, envisioning the body as a tree trunk extending skyward from firm roots. The gaze can be directed forward, or for an added challenge, it can be directed upward towards the raised hands.
- Exiting the pose: To come out of twin trees, participants first lower their raised arms, then carefully place the lifted foot back onto the ground. After ensuring both feet are firmly planted, they can release the mutual waist hold and stand independently.
- Reflection: Upon completion, taking a brief moment to reflect on the shared balance, connection, and any adjustments made during the pose can be valuable for future practice.
Here are some benefits of the twin trees pose:
- Improves balance and coordination.
- Strengthens the core.
- Opens the hips and chest.
- Relieves stress and anxiety.
- Promotes a sense of togetherness.
- Builds trust and communication.
Incorporating the twin trees pose into partner yoga practice gives individuals the chance to develop a deeper understanding of balance and stability. This pose emphasizes the notion that, in many endeavors, mutual support and cooperation can increase strength and stability beyond what one might achieve alone. As always, mutual respect and open communication are essential for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the practice. Twin trees pose is a challenging but rewarding pose. It is a great way to connect with your partner and improve your yoga practice.
4. Seated Cat-Cow Stretch
Seated cat-cow stretch is a seated variation of the traditional Marjaryasana-Bitilasana sequence, which is often practiced in various yoga styles. This adapted posture retains the core objectives of spinal flexion and extension, but in a more accessible manner for those who may find the quadruped stance challenging.
Additionally, when incorporated into a partner yoga routine, the seated variation allows for synchronization of movement and breath between two individuals.
How to do seated cat-cow stretch pose:
- Initial position: Begin by sitting back-to-back with a partner, legs crossed or extended straight out in front. Spines are elongated, and the crown of each head reaches skyward. Feet are firmly planted on the ground if legs are extended.
- Synchronization: Establish a mutual breathing rhythm with the partner. This synchronized breathing is pivotal as it anchors the successive movements of flexion and extension.
- Cat pose (Marjaryasana) execution: On a synchronized exhale, both participants round their spines, tucking the chin towards the chest and drawing the navel inwards. The upper back is broadened, shoulder blades move apart, and a posterior pelvic tilt is adopted. This position emulates the stretching posture of a cat.
- Cow pose (Bitilasana) execution: On the following synchronized inhale, participants arch their spines, lifting the chest and gaze slightly upwards, while the shoulder blades draw closer together, promoting thoracic extension. Concurrently, an anterior pelvic tilt is adopted. This posture mimics the stance of a cow with a sagged back.
- Transitioning and Flow: The fluid transition between the Cat and Cow poses is integral to the practice. Participants continuously flow between these two postures, driven by the rhythm of their synchronized breathing. Several cycles can be completed to maximize spinal mobility and enhance the stretch.
- Completion and Re-centering: After completing the desired number of cycles, both participants gradually return to a neutral spine. A moment of stillness can be adopted to reflect upon the sensations experienced during the movement.
Here are some benefits of the seated cat-cow stretch pose:
- Improves spinal flexibility: The alternating flexion and extension of the spine in this pose can help to improve flexibility in the spine.
- Relieves back pain: The gentle stretching of the spine in this pose can help to relieve back pain.
- Massages the abdominal organs: The movement of the spine in this pose can help to massage the abdominal organs, improving digestion and elimination.
- Improves breathing: The coordinated movement of the spine and breath in this pose can help to improve breathing.
- Calms the mind: The repetitive movements and focus on the breath in this pose can help to calm the mind and promote relaxation.
- Increases energy: The gentle stretching and movement in this pose can help to increase energy levels.
Seated cat-cow stretch is a comprehensive way to mobilize the spine, relieve tension, and cultivate awareness of spinal articulations. When practiced in a partnered setting, it can foster a unique connection through the synchronization of movement and breath. As with all yoga practices, you have to stay attuned to your own bodily sensations and avoid any movements that cause pain or excessive discomfort.
The seated cat-cow stretch is a gentle pose, but it can be challenging for some people. If you are new to yoga, start with a few repetitions and gradually increase the number of repetitions as you become more comfortable.
5. Double Boat Pose
Double boat pose is an advanced partner yoga adaptation of the traditional boat pose (Navasana). While the foundational boat pose emphasizes core strength and balance when practiced solo, the Double boat pose intensifies these demands by introducing the dynamics of partner alignment, synchronization, and cooperation.
Double boat pose is a challenging pose that requires a high degree of core strength, balance and coordination. It is also a great way to build trust and teamwork with your partner.
How to do double boat pose:
- Initial position: Both individuals begin by sitting facing each other, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. A comfortable distance should be maintained to ensure that, when extended, the soles of their feet can touch.
- Engaging core and establishing base: Engaging the core, both participants lean back slightly, ensuring the spine remains straight and not rounded. This tilted position is pivotal for establishing a stable base for the subsequent steps.
- Leg positioning: Simultaneously, both participants lift their feet off the ground, extending the legs so that the soles of their feet meet at a central point between them. The aim is to achieve a V-shape with the upper and lower body, akin to two boats facing one another.
- Hand and arm positioning: While the primary balance challenge lies in the foot connection, the hands and arms are not passive. Participants can either hold onto each other’s hands or, for an added challenge, extend their arms parallel to the ground alongside their legs.
- Alignment and stability: Key to the double boat pose’s success is ensuring that both participants maintain a straight spine and open chest, avoiding any tendency to round the back. The core should be actively engaged, providing stability and preventing any wobbling.
- Holding and breathing: Once the pose is achieved, participants should focus on their breath, taking deep, synchronized inhalations and exhalations. Holding the pose for several breaths can be beneficial, though the duration can be adjusted based on individual comfort and strength levels.
- Exiting the pose: To come out of the double boat pose, participants should first lower their legs, placing their feet on the ground, followed by releasing the hand grip if one was established. It’s advisable to move slowly and deliberately to maintain balance and ensure a safe exit.
Here are some of the benefits of the double boat pose:
- Strengthens the core
- Improves balance
- Opens the hips
- Relieves stress
- Increases energy
Double boat pose intensifies the core engagement of the traditional boat pose and also fosters a unique sense of connection and cooperation between participants. The success of the pose depends on mutual trust, synchronized movement, and shared strength. Practitioners are encouraged to stay attuned to their own comfort levels and physical limits to ensure a safe and enriching experience for both individuals.
If you are interested in trying the double boat pose, you have to start with a partner of similar size and strength. You should also start by practicing the pose in a safe and controlled environment, such as a yoga studio or a park. With practice, you will be able to hold the double boat pose for longer periods of time. It is a great way to challenge yourself and improve your yoga practice.
6. Partner Camel Pose
Partner camel is a collaborative variation of the traditional camel pose (Ustrasana), which is often integrated into yoga practices. The fundamental camel pose, which is characterized by its backbend and chest-opening attributes, is further intensified in the partnered version, offering deeper thoracic expansion and an enhanced stretch along the front body. Additionally, the partnered adaptation amplifies the principles of trust, communication, and shared space.
How to do partner camel pose:
- Initial position: Both individuals commence by kneeling on their mats, facing each other with knees hip-width apart. Depending on flexibility and comfort, participants can either maintain some distance between each other or position themselves closer so that their knees are almost touching.
- Engaging the pose: With hands placed on their respective hips and elbows pointing backward, participants simultaneously begin to arch their backs, initiating a backbend.
- Hand positioning for support: As each participant deepens their backbend, they reach back to grasp the ankles of their partner. This mutual support not only stabilizes the pose but also allows for a deeper and more controlled backbend than might be achievable individually.
- Thoracic and head alignment: The chest is lifted towards the ceiling, optimizing the thoracic extension. The head can be neutrally aligned with the spine or allowed to drop back, depending on individual neck comfort. It is essential to avoid straining the neck.
- Stability and grounding: Throughout the pose, the shins and tops of the feet should press firmly into the mat, providing a grounded base. Engaging the core slightly can offer additional stability and protect the lower back from excessive strain.
- Breathing and holding: Breath should remain smooth and even. The pose can be held for several breath cycles, but the duration should be mutually agreed upon and contingent on the comfort levels of both participants.
- Exiting the pose: To come out of partner camel, participants should first communicate their intent to release. Using the strength of their core and arms, they simultaneously return to an upright kneeling position. Once upright, it’s advisable to sit back on the heels and take a moment to reflect on the sensations experienced during the posture.
Partner camel pose not only intensifies the backbending and heart-opening elements of the foundational camel Pose, but it also fosters a heightened sense of connection between practitioners. The physical and emotional trust required to engage in this posture is a testament to the integrative nature of partner yoga. As always, LotusBuddhas recommends respecting boundaries and paying attention to your own body for safe and effective practice.
7. Assisted Bridge Pose
Assisted bridge is an advanced partner yoga variation of the classic Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or bridge pose, which is common in many yoga traditions. This adaptation not only increases the depth of the backbend, but it also creates a delicate balance of support, trust, and shared effort between the participants. The assisting partner acts as a stabilizing force, allowing the person performing the bridge to experience an enhanced extension of the lumbar and thoracic spine.
How to do assisted bridge pose:
- Initial position: The primary practitioner lies supine on the mat with knees bent, feet flat, and arms resting at their sides. The assisting partner stands facing the feet of the primary practitioner, positioning themselves close but without impeding the movement of the feet.
- Engaging the bridge pose: The primary practitioner pushes through their feet, engaging the gluteal muscles and core, and begins to lift their pelvis and spine off the ground. The aim is to achieve a diagonal line from the shoulders to the knees, resembling a bridge.
- Assistance and support: As the primary practitioner rises into the bridge, the assisting partner places their hands on the lifted hips, offering support. The hands should be positioned with fingers pointing towards the feet and palms securely under the sacrum. This support permits the primary practitioner to possibly lift higher than they might unassisted, while also offering a grounding counterforce.
- Alignment and stability: The primary practitioner ensures that the knees remain hip-width apart and don’t splay outward. The assisting partner’s stabilizing hands help maintain alignment, preventing any left-right wobbling and ensuring an even distribution of weight. Both individuals maintain open communication throughout, with the primary practitioner conveying any discomfort or need for adjustment.
- Breathing and holding: The essence of the assisted bridge lies not just in achieving the posture but in maintaining it with synchronized breaths. Both participants should focus on deep, even breathing, allowing the primary practitioner to experience the full depth of the pose, safely anchored by the assisting partner.
- Exiting the pose: Upon completion of the desired duration, the primary practitioner communicates their intent to lower down. The assisting partner gently eases the supported sacrum as the primary practitioner slowly rolls the spine down vertebra by vertebra until the back is flat on the mat.
Here are some of the benefits of the assisted bridge pose:
- Strengthens the back muscles: The assisted bridge pose strengthens the back muscles, including the erector spinae, trapezius, and rhomboids. These muscles are important for maintaining good posture and preventing back pain.
- Opens the chest and shoulders: The assisted bridge pose opens the chest and shoulders by stretching the pectoralis major and anterior deltoids. These muscles can become tight from sitting for long periods of time, so stretching them can help to improve posture and breathing.
- Relieves stress and anxiety: The supported bridge pose can help to relieve stress and anxiety by calming the mind and focusing the attention on the breath.
- Improves circulation: The assisted bridge pose improves circulation by increasing blood flow to the spine and brain. This can help to improve energy levels and overall well-being.
Assisted bridge is a pose that enhances the lumbar and thoracic extension of the traditional bridge pose. By incorporating a supportive dynamic, the pose fosters mutual trust, enhances the depth of the backbend, and underscores the integrative and collaborative spirit of partner yoga. As with all partner poses, clear communication, mutual consent, and respect for each participant’s physical boundaries are essential for ensuring a safe and enriching experience.
8. Wheel and Child’s Pose
Wheel and child’s pose combination is a partner yoga posture that combines two foundational poses: Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose) and Balasana (child’s pose). This dyadic assemblage is emblematic of the balance between exertion and relaxation, strength and surrender, representing the dualistic principles often encountered in yogic philosophy.
How to do wheel and child’s pose:
- Initial position: Begin with one practitioner (Practitioner A) preparing to enter wheel pose. This individual lies supine on the mat, knees bent and feet flat, with hands positioned beside the head, fingers pointing towards the feet. The second practitioner (Practitioner B) kneels directly behind Practitioner A’s head, preparing to enter child’s pose.
- Engaging wheel pose: Practitioner A pushes through their palms and feet, arching the back and lifting the body into the wheel pose. The legs and arms should be straightened to the extent comfortable, and the head should hang freely or rest on the mat, depending on flexibility.
- Engaging child’s pose: Practitioner B, positioned at the head of Practitioner A, extends forward into the child’s pose, draping their upper body over the arched back of Practitioner A. The arms of Practitioner B stretch forward on the ground, alongside Practitioner A’s head. This creates a sheltered, supportive space for Practitioner A, reinforcing the sense of security and grounding in the wheel pose.
- Alignment and interaction: The chest of Practitioner A in wheel pose should be pushing up and out, while Practitioner B in child’s pose should feel a gentle stretch along the spine and the shoulders. Practitioner B’s presence can provide a comforting weight on the extended thoracic region of Practitioner A, further enhancing the backbend’s depth.
- Breathing and holding: Synchronized breathing between the two practitioners is vital. Deep, harmonized inhalations and exhalations can facilitate a heightened sense of connection, accentuating the shared experience of the pose. The posture can be held for several breath cycles, depending on comfort.
- Exiting the pose: Practitioner B initiates the exit by gently pushing off Practitioner A and returning to a kneeling position. Following this, Practitioner A carefully lowers the body down from wheel pose, vertebra by vertebra, until lying supine on the mat.
Here are some of the benefits of the wheel and child’s pose combination:
- Improves flexibility and range of motion: The wheel pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana) and child’s pose (Balasana) are two poses that complement each other well. The Wheel Pose stretches the spine and back muscles, while child’s pose stretches the hips, thighs, and calves. By alternating between these two poses, you can improve your flexibility and range of motion in both the upper and lower body.
- Relieves stress and anxiety: The wheel pose is a backbend that can help to calm the mind and relieve stress and anxiety. Child’s pose is a forward bend that can help to relax the body and mind. By alternating between these two poses, you can create a sense of balance and harmony in the body and mind.
- Improves circulation: Wheel pose and child’s pose both help to improve circulation. Wheel pose increases blood flow to the head and chest, while child’s pose increases blood flow to the lower body. By alternating between these two poses, you can improve the overall circulation in your body.
- Strengthens the core: Both the wheel pose and child’s pose require the core muscles to work. The wheel Pose strengthens the back muscles, while child’s pose strengthens the hip flexors. By alternating between these two poses, you can strengthen your core muscles and improve your overall posture.
- Promotes a sense of peace and tranquility: The wheel pose and child’s pose are both calming poses that can help to promote a sense of peace and tranquility. The wheel pose can help to clear the mind and focus the attention on the breath, while child’s pose can help to relax the body and mind. By alternating between these two poses, you can create a sense of calm and peace in your body and mind.
Wheel and child’s pose combination highlights the interconnectedness of strength and relaxation in a yoga practice. While one partner embodies strength and openness in the wheel pose, the other embodies surrender and relaxation in the child’s pose. This mutual, interconnected dynamic exemplifies the holistic, integrative essence of yoga.
9. Temple Pose
Temple pose in partnered yoga serves as a representation of unity, balance and mutual support. When executed by two individuals, this pose melds elements of a forward fold and backbend, creating an interwoven display of symmetry and connectivity.
How to do temple pose for two people:
- Initial position: Both participants stand facing each other, approximately an arm’s length apart or slightly more depending on height and flexibility. Feet should be hip-width apart and firmly grounded.
- Hand placement and connection: Each participant extends their arms towards the other, joining hands or intertwining fingers at about chest or shoulder height, establishing the primary connection.
- Initiating the pose: With a firm grip on each other’s hands, both participants begin to lean backward, counterbalancing each other. This mutual lean produces a backbend for each individual, with their arms and upper bodies forming an arch.
- Stabilizing the pose: While leaning backward, both participants need to engage their core muscles for stability and ensure that their feet remain grounded. Legs should be firm but not locked, acting as strong pillars of support.
- Alignment and depth: The depth of the backbend depends on the comfort level and flexibility of each participant. It is crucial to maintain an open line of communication, ensuring that neither party feels over-extended or strained. The head can be neutrally aligned with the spine or allowed to drop back gently, depending on individual comfort.
- Breathing and holding: As with any yoga pose, breathing plays a pivotal role. In the temple pose, synchronized deep inhalations and exhalations can enhance the sense of connection and mutual support. Holding the pose for several breaths can deepen the experience, though the exact duration should be mutually agreed upon based on individual comfort levels.
- Exiting the pose: To safely exit the temple pose, both participants begin by gradually reducing the depth of their backbend, pulling gently on each other’s arms for support as they return to an upright position. Once standing upright, they can release their hand grip.
Temple pose for two people is not just a physical demonstration of balance and support. It is also an embodiment of mutual trust and connection. The pose requires synchronized effort, making it an emblematic representation of partnership and unity in a yoga practice. Participants are encouraged to maintain clear communication throughout and to be attentive to their own and their partner’s comfort levels, ensuring a safe and fulfilling experience.
10. Throne Pose
Throne pose in partnered yoga, often associated with AcroYoga, is a visually striking posture that highlights trust, strength, and balance between two individuals. One partner, the “base,” supports the other, the “flyer,” in a seated position elevated above the ground, reminiscent of a throne. Throne pose is a challenging pose, but it is also a very rewarding one. It is a great way to build trust and cooperation between partners, and it is also a great way to challenge yourself physically and mentally.
How to do throne pose for two people:
- Base’s position: The base lies supine on the mat with legs raised perpendicular to the ground. Arms are extended upwards, parallel to the legs, and palms face the ceiling. The base’s position requires strength and stability, predominantly from the legs and core.
- Flyer’s entry: Standing close to the base’s head and facing away, the flyer prepares to be lifted. The base’s feet are placed on the flyer’s hip bones, ensuring a firm yet comfortable connection. The flyer extends their arms backward, allowing the base to grip their hands or wrists.
- Lifting the flyer: With clear communication, the base bends the knees slightly, drawing the flyer backward. Using the strength of the legs, the base pushes upwards, lifting the flyer off the ground. The flyer’s body weight should be transferred onto the base’s feet, creating a stable platform.
- Achieving the throne: As the flyer is elevated, they transition into a seated position on the feet of the base, akin to sitting on a throne. The flyer’s legs can either be extended forward or bent at the knees. The base, maintaining a grip on the flyer’s hands or wrists, ensures the stability of the pose.
- Alignment and balance: The base’s legs should remain actively engaged, with feet flexed to create a secure platform for the flyer. The flyer, once lifted, should engage the core muscles, maintaining an erect posture. For both participants, alignment is paramount. The base’s hips, shoulders, and wrists should be in line, while the flyer’s spine should be elongated, and shoulders relaxed.
- Breathing and holding: Synchronized breathing between the base and the flyer accentuates the connection and mutual reliance. Holding the pose, both participants should focus on steady, even breaths, enhancing the equilibrium and shared experience.
- Exiting the pose: Communication is essential for a safe dismount. The flyer signals their intent to descend, and the base slowly bends the knees, lowering the flyer towards the ground. Once the flyer’s feet touch the mat, both participants can release their grip, completing the pose.
Here are some of the benefits of practicing throne pose:
- Strengthens the legs and hips: Throne pose requires the use of the legs and hips to maintain balance and stability. This can help to strengthen these muscles and improve overall posture.
- Opens the hips and groin: The throne pose opens the hips and groin by stretching the hip flexors and inner thighs. This can help to improve flexibility in these areas and reduce pain in the lower back.
- Improves digestion: Throne pose can help to improve digestion by stimulating the abdominal organs. This is because the pose puts pressure on the abdomen, which can help to massage the digestive organs and improve circulation.
- Relieves stress and anxiety: The throne pose can help to relieve stress and anxiety by calming the mind and focusing the attention on the breath. This is because the pose requires you to focus on your body and your breath, which can help to quiet the mind.
- Promotes a sense of peace and tranquility: The throne pose is a grounding pose that can help to promote a sense of peace and tranquility. This is because the pose requires you to be present in the moment and focus on your breath.
Throne pose is a testament to the collaborative nature of partner yoga. It requires mutual trust, clear communication, and a keen awareness of one’s own body and that of one’s partner. Ensuring safety and respect for each participant’s comfort and boundaries are essential for the effective and rewarding practice of this pose.
11. Seated Forward Fold
Assisted forward fold is a variation of the classic pose Paschimottanasana or seated forward fold. It involves a second participant, who helps to deepen the stretch for the receiver. Paschimottanasana is traditionally practiced individually, and it stretches the posterior chain from the heels to the upper back. The introduction of an assisting practitioner amplifies the stretch, allowing the receiver to go deeper into the pose.
This partnered variation requires not only mutual trust but also continuous communication and an awareness of the receiver’s flexibility thresholds. The assistant should be gentle and supportive, and they should not force the receiver into the pose. The receiver should also communicate with the assistant if they feel any pain or discomfort.
How to do seated forward fold for two people:
- Initial position: The primary practitioner, termed the “receiver,” sits erect on the mat with legs extended straight in front and feet flexed. The assisting practitioner, termed the “giver,” kneels or sits facing the receiver’s back, aligning with the receiver’s pelvis.
- Engaging seated forward fold: The receiver inhales deeply, extending the spine. On the exhale, the receiver hinges at the hips, initiating a forward bend over the extended legs. The receiver’s hands may rest on the legs, ankles, or extend beyond the feet, depending on flexibility.
- Positioning of the giver: The giver carefully places their hands on the receiver’s upper back, between the shoulder blades or along the spine’s length. This ensures optimal hand positioning for the subsequent assistance.
- Deepening the fold: With attentiveness and calibrated pressure, the giver gently pushes down on the receiver’s back, guiding the receiver into a more profound bend. The giver’s pressure should be gentle, controlled, and always in sync with the receiver’s comfort and feedback.
- Receiver’s feedback: It is incumbent upon the receiver to communicate the comfort level consistently. Should the pressure feel too intense or potentially strain-inducing, the receiver must immediately notify the giver, who should then adjust or release the pressure accordingly.
- Breathing and holding: Consistent, deep breathing is crucial. The receiver’s exhalations offer moments for potential deepening of the pose, while the giver should synchronize their assisting pressure with the receiver’s breath rhythm. The duration of the pose is largely dictated by the receiver’s comfort and should not extend beyond their threshold of ease.
- Exiting the pose: On the receiver’s cue or after a predetermined duration, the giver slowly withdraws the applied pressure, allowing the receiver to gently roll up, reinstating an erect seated position.
Here are some of the benefits of practicing seated forward fold pose for two people:
- Improved flexibility: Seated Forward Fold pose stretches the hamstrings, hips, and lower back. When practiced with a partner, the giver can help the receiver to go deeper into the pose, which can help to improve flexibility in these areas.
- Reduced stress and anxiety: The seated forward fold pose can help to calm the mind and promote relaxation. When practiced with a partner, the giver can provide support and encouragement, which can help to further reduce stress and anxiety.
- Increased sense of trust and connection: Seated forward fold pose requires a high level of trust and communication between partners. When practiced regularly, this pose can help to deepen the sense of trust and connection between partners.
- Enhanced communication: The Seated forward fold pose requires partners to communicate with each other about their needs and limitations. This can help to improve communication skills in other areas of life.
- Fun and challenging experience: Seated forward fold pose can be a fun and challenging experience for both partners. It can be a great way to bond and connect with each other, while also getting a good workout.
The seated forward fold is a pose that embodies the harmonization and mutual support that are essential to partner yoga. Both partners must be acutely aware of each other’s needs and limitations in order to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the pose.
The giver must be gentle and supportive, but also firm enough to help the receiver achieve a deep stretch. The receiver must be willing to surrender to the pose and trust the giver’s guidance. When these two elements come together, the seated forward fold can be a deeply transformative experience.
12. Counterbalance Pose
Counterbalance pose in partnered yoga is a beautiful example of the equilibrium of opposing forces. In this pose, two participants use their body weight and strength to maintain a shared balance, demonstrating both physical and energetic synchronization. As with other partnered yoga poses, counterbalance pose underscores the principles of mutual trust, connectivity, and open communication.
How to do counterbalance pose for two people:
- Initial position: Both participants face away from each other, standing close but not touching. The distance between them may vary based on their height and comfort level, but generally, the heels are approximately a foot apart.
- Establishing connection: Each participant begins by reaching their arms backward to grasp the other’s wrists or hands. This forms the primary point of connection and stability for the subsequent pose.
- Initiating the pose: With a firm grip on each other’s wrists or hands, both participants engage their core muscles and begin to lean forward. It’s essential that this lean is initiated simultaneously to maintain balance.
- Achieving balance: As both participants lean forward, their combined center of gravity shifts. To counterbalance each other, they rely on the tension created by pulling against each other’s grip. The angle of the lean will depend on their combined weight, strength, and comfort level. Ideally, both participants’ torsos should be roughly parallel to the ground.
- Leg positioning: Depending on individual preference and balance, participants can keep their feet flat on the ground or raise their heels, balancing on the balls of their feet. Some advanced practitioners might even opt to lift one leg off the ground, either extending it straight back or bending it at the knee, but this requires additional strength and coordination.
- Breathing and holding: Even, synchronized breathing enhances the stability and connection in the pose. Participants should focus on maintaining steady inhalations and exhalations, holding the pose for a duration that is comfortable for both.
- Exiting the pose: To release from the counterbalance pose, both participants should gradually reduce the angle of their forward lean, pulling gently against each other’s grip for support until they return to an upright standing position. Once upright, they can release their grip.
Here are some of the benefits of practicing counterbalance pose for two people:
- Improved balance and coordination: The counterbalance pose requires a high level of balance and coordination. When practiced regularly, this pose can help to improve balance and coordination in both partners.
- Increased flexibility: The counterbalance pose stretches the hamstrings, hips, and lower back. When practiced regularly, this pose can help to improve flexibility in these areas.
- Reduced stress and anxiety: The counterbalance pose can help to calm the mind and promote relaxation. When practiced regularly, this pose can help to reduce stress and anxiety in both partners.
- Increased sense of trust and connection: The counterbalance pose requires a high level of trust and communication between partners. When practiced regularly, this pose can help to deepen the sense of trust and connection between partners.
- Enhanced communication: The counterbalance pose requires partners to communicate with each other about their needs and limitations. This can help to improve communication skills in other areas of life.
- Fun and challenging experience: The counterbalance pose can be a fun and challenging experience for both partners. It can be a great way to bond and connect with each other, while also getting a good workout.
Counterbalance pose is a challenging pose, but it can also be very rewarding. When done with care and attention, it can help to improve flexibility, release tension, and promote a sense of peace and relaxation. It can also help to deepen the sense of trust, connection, and communication between partners.
In summary, the practice of yoga poses for two people is a testament to the multifaceted nature of yoga itself. It embodies not just the physical, but also the interpersonal and spiritual aspects of the discipline. Through the interplay of dual energies, practitioners unlock a deeper layer of connectivity, understanding, and mutual trust. It is more than just an advancement of postural skills; it represents the transcendence of individual limitations through collective endeavor.
This collaborative facet of yoga underscores the fundamental tenets of unity, interdependence, and balance. It encapsulates the holistic potential of yoga to not only unify mind, body, and spirit, but also to bridge the divide between self and other. Thus, partnered yoga becomes a poignant metaphor for the broader human experience, reminding us of the harmonious potential inherent in shared pursuits and mutual support.