It’s always fun when you have a friend, buddy, partner to practice or work out with. You can’t help but laugh, smile or giggle when you’re with someone you value and trust. Assisting each other in stretches and poses, such as in partner yoga, creates a unique experience of the practice of yoga and allows you to relate to your partner in a new way. Whether you’re practicing with a friend or lover, here’s an easy 5- min partner stretch that me and my yoga partner in crime, Ron, have come up with. Watch the video and see the step by step pose breakdown below. Though the poses don’t have to be executed perfectly, be careful with your partner especially in poses where you need to push or pull. Always check in with your partner to see if he/she can take the stretch or is ready to assist. Biggest rule in partner yoga: TAKE CARE OF YOUR PARTNER! And remember, have fun!
Music Credit: Purple Rose by Kalabrese
POSE 1: ROOFTOP
Start by standing in front of each other. Press your hands against each other and begin to step back. Allow your chest to drop down, however, keep your front abdominals engage and keep the rib cage from spilling down.
POSE 2: PUPPY DOG WITH A TWIST
Move your hands towards your partner’s shoulders and press down until you are both parallel to the ground.
Move together into a twist, turning towards both sides.
POSE 3: BACK TO BACK FORWARD FOLD
Fold forward and walk towards each other until you’re shoulders and upper back are touching. You may try leaning on each other and just let your arms hang.
POSE 4: BACK TO BACK CHAIR TOWARDS THE FLOOR
Stand back to back and as you lean on each other, begin to walk away and slowly come to a seated position.
POSE 5: ASSISTED MILD BACKBEND
Move towards the same side and lie down on each other’s thigh for a mild backbend. We recommend lingering a little bit longer here! If you are practicing outdoors, this is a great time to just look up and stare at the clouds together.
POSE 6: LIZARD ON A ROCK
Take turns lying down over each others back. If you are on top, step your feet in front of you and push the floor to lift the hips as you take your partner in seated forward fold. Remember to be regulate the weight you’re putting on your partner! Be gentle if you are taller or heavier than your partner! You don’t want to squish your partner or force them into a pose that may hurt them.
POSE 7: SEATED TWIST
Come back to a seated position and turn to one side, reach for your partner’s thigh and rest your other hand on yours.
POSE 8: SEE SAW
Face each other and take turns with the leg position. One will take Butterfly Pose and the other will take a straight leg position, pressing their feet into their partners shin. Slowly, like a seesaw take turns gently pulling each other into a forward fold. Just be mindful not to pull hard and fast, remember that your flexibility range is different from one another.
POSE 9: PARTNER BOAT
Bend your knees and hold hands or use straps if you both have tight hamstrings. Start with one pair of feet pressing against each other and reaching it up towards the ceiling. If all is well, try both feet!
If you’re feeling adventurous, transfer both arms in between legs, hold opposite arms and turn towards one side for a twist.
POSE 10: WIDE LEG SIDE BEND
Lower your legs down and sit in front of each other with legs wide apart. Hold on to opposite arms and take a side bend. Gently tug your partner’s hand so that you’re partner’s chest doesn’t collapse down.
If you’re both still laughing at this point, simply end by thanking each other! But if you both find yourself feeling calm, you can end by sitting in front of each other, with eyes closed and taking deep breaths together.
Nica Hechanova De Erquiaga teaches FNR, vinyasa flow, community yoga and kids yoga at Urban Ashram Yoga. She’s illustrator and graphic artist who recently published a yoga book for kids called Amazing Me. She is currently part of the Align and Refine Yoga team, a group of teachers who come up with yoga intensive programs for further education. Oh, and she’s editor of www.urbanyogi.ph Follow @amazingmeyoga on instagram.