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10 Easy Partner Yoga Poses For 2 Beginners

Updated: Feb 16

Partner yoga seated spinal twist with arms interlaced

In Sanskrit, yoga means “to yoke,” or “to unite.” The practice of yoga aims to create unity between mind, body and spirit. This unity can take place internally and between two people. Partner yoga, also known as couples yoga, unites two people in a unique and harmonious way.


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What is Partner Yoga?


Partner yoga is a style of yoga that can be explored with your significant other, friend, sibling, parent, or with someone you feel connected to. It is a practice where two people support each other physically, mentally and emotionally in each pose. This is accomplished through physical touch, verbal guidance, body language, encouraging words, laughter and connection.


Traditionally yoga is an individual and solitary practice with a number of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Partner yoga shares a number of the same benefits one would experience through an individual practice with some unique benefits.  


What are the Benefits of Partner Yoga?


1. Enhances communication and trust


Partner yoga involves trust, as well as verbal and nonverbal communication as you support each other in each yoga pose. This includes transitioning from one pose to the next. Partner yoga requires both partners to be fully present in mind and body, attentively listening to the partner’s verbal and nonverbal messages. Nonverbal messages can include: facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures. Attentive listening can strengthen trust between partners, which can invite vulnerability, authenticity and a felt sense of safety between the couple.   

 

2. Deepens connection


Partner yoga nurtures connection and closeness in a unique way. Eye gazing is one example of how you can deepen your connection with your partner during a partner yoga class. Eye gazing is the act of looking into your partner’s eyes for an extended period of time. Eye gazing can help you understand your partner on a more intimate level. The eyes are regarded as the “window to the soul.” The practice of looking into your partner’s eyes can help you better understand their emotional state. An added bonus is that eye gazing releases oxytocin into the body, which can boost feelings of happiness and love!     


3. Increases intimacy


Intimacy is a sense of closeness and connection between two people that goes beyond the physical. Intimacy also includes emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. Each aspect of intimacy can be experienced, felt and enhanced through physical touch. Partner yoga can enhance intimacy in multiple ways. Intimacy can help you build and maintain healthy relationships with your partner and also with yourself. 


4. Reduces stress and anxiety


The tools of yoga can help us move with ease and flexibility between the fight or flight state and the rest and digest state. One of the many benefits of a regular yoga practice is nervous system regulation. Partner yoga can also help bring about calm and balance to the nervous system. Physical touch can lead to the release of dopamine and serotonin in the body. These neurotransmitters can help regulate mood. This is one reason why you may feel calmer, more relaxed and at ease as you explore yoga poses with a partner. Some partner yoga poses, such as a back to back seated meditation pose, encourage you to feel your partner’s breath. This feeling can be both soothing and grounding. It can even encourage you to slow down your respiratory rate to match your partner’s breathing pattern. This can cultivate feelings of calm, nourishment and safety within the mind and body.   


5. Encourages playfulness, laughter and fun


Partner yoga often includes playful and creative yoga poses. Partner yoga is not about nailing the shape, it’s about bringing a sense of lightness and playfulness to your practice. It’s a practice of letting go. Partner yoga offers the invitation to take the pressure off and just have some fun. Laughter is an added benefit of partner yoga practices. Laughter can relax your whole body, boost immune system functioning, trigger the release of endorphins (which can help ease chronic pain), support heart health, can lower blood pressure, and can help you access feelings of joy more readily. Partner yoga is meant to be fun and playful. You can take this playful energy with you off the mat and into your everyday life. 


6. Provides an opportunity to expand your personal yoga practice


With the support of your partner, you have the opportunity to explore yoga poses that you’ve been eager to try for a while. You are able to use the weight of your partner’s body to help you progress into a yoga pose. You can both work together to achieve your personal and combined yoga-related goals!  


7. Improves strength, flexibility and balance


Many partner yoga poses strengthen the core muscles, which allows you to stay in the poses with more steadiness and ease. An added bonus of a stronger core is better posture. Weight-bearing partner yoga poses strengthen muscles and are said to increase bone density. Posture holds and fluid movements during a partner yoga class can increase overall flexibility. Your partner can gently assist with deepening a stretch, moving you to a range that feels safe in your body. Breathing into each stretch can help you progress into the pose with more ease. Partner yoga can help improve balance and stability in the body. Some partner yoga poses are balancing postures. The couple supports or leans on each other in order to stay upright in the pose. This can add challenge and a little playfulness to the practice.


10 Partner Yoga Poses for 2 Beginners 


1. Seated Meditation Pose


Partner yoga seated meditation pose

How To:

  • Both partners find a comfortable crossed-legged seat, sitting back to back. 

  • Allow your weight to settle against your partner’s back. 

  • Explore finding length through your spinal chain and rest your hands either on your heart or on your thighs. 

  • Soften your gaze or close your eyes. 

  • As you breathe in and out, notice how your breath can deepen your connection to your partner’s back body. 

  • Play around with synchronizing your inhalations and your exhalations. 

  • Explore what it feels like to breathe in and out together. 

  • You could even explore humming together or chanting “Om.” You can try this at the same frequency or at different frequencies. Feeling your back vibrating against your partner’s back is such an interesting sensation. 

  • Remain in this seated meditation posture for at least 3 minutes. 

  • This is a great pose to start with as it establishes connection, grounding and a sense of safety between you and your partner. 


2. Seated Spinal Twist


Partner yoga seated spinal twist

How To:

  • Both partners find a cross-legged seat, sitting back to back. 

  • Allow your weight to rest against your partner’s back, feeling that connection and support. 

  • Both partners breathe in together to find length through the spinal chain.

  • On the breath out, both partners explore a spinal twist to their right. 

  • Partners place their right hand on the left thigh or knee of their partner. 

  • Gently rest your left hand on your right thigh. 

  • Direct your focus past your right shoulder. 

  • Breathe into your back body, sending your breath in the direction of your lower back. 

  • Release this spinal twist after at least 5 cycles of breath, and then explore this seated spinal twist on the other side. 

  • Spinal twists can improve spinal mobility, release muscular tension and can aid in digestive processes. 


3. Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold


Partner yoga seated wide legged forward fold

How To:

  • Sit facing your partner, giving yourself some space. 

  • Both partners slowly send their legs out to the sides, finding a wide-legged seated posture. Explore a width that feels comfortable for you. 

  • Feel free to find a small to generous bend in your knees to offer more ease in this pose. This may be useful if your partner has longer legs than you.

  • Allow the soles of your feet to connect and flex through your feet. Toes point upwards to create stability and grounding in this pose. 

  • Gently take hold of each other’s forearms or hands.

  • Both partners breathe in together to find length through the spine. 

  • On the breath out, the one partner will begin to lean back. The partner leaning back, slowly guides their partner closer towards them. 

  • The partner that is being guided forward, begins to slowly hinge forward at their hips and breathes into their hips, hamstrings and inner thighs. 

  • You can hold this pose for about 5 cycles of breath before resetting and switching. 

  • It is important to communicate often with your partner throughout this stretch. Let your partner know how this stretch feels and when you feel ready to transition out of the pose.


4. Seated Cat Cow


Partner yoga seated cow pose

Partner yoga seated cat pose

How To:

  • Sit cross-legged facing towards your partner. 

  • Allow your knees to touch. 

  • Both partners reach their arms out long and gently grasp each other’s forearms. 

  • Explore finding equal resistance between you and your partner, as you find length through your spine and draw your shoulders back and then down. 

  • As you breathe in together, reach your tailbone back, lift your chest and chin slightly as you explore a seated cow pose. 

  • As you breathe out, round through your spine and release your chin closer towards your chest. This is a seated cat pose. 

  • Connect breath to action as you and your partner move between cat and cow pose. 

  • Do your best to move with each other and with your breath. 

  • If a particular stretch feels good in your body, you can communicate with your partner that you would like to stay in the stretch a little longer. 

  • Cat-cows are great for improving spinal flexibility and mobility, encouraging a healthy flow of energy.


5. Thread the Needle Pose 


Partner yoga thread the needle pose

How To:

  • Both partners start off in a table top position (on all fours). 

  • To determine where to position yourself, extend your arms towards each other. Move your body so that you and your partner are able to hold hands, or touch each other’s forearms while in the pose.

  • For thread-the-needle pose, bring your big toes together and then walk your knees wider than hip distance apart. 

  • On the breath in, both partners reach their outside hand towards the sky.

  • On the breath out, both partners send their outside arm behind the inside arm. So, you are reaching towards your partner’s hand. 

  • Gently take hold of your partner’s hand as you release your outside shoulder onto the earth. 

  • Turn your head to face towards your partner, resting the side of your face on the surface beneath you. 

  • You can choose to keep your inside hand exactly where it is, or you can walk your hand forward. 

  • There is an option to practice eye gazing to strengthen your bond and connection with your partner.

  • This pose can help release upper back and shoulder tension. 

  • Explore this pose for at least 5 cycles of breath before slowly making your way back to all fours. 

  • You can explore this pose on the other side by switching sides with your partner.


6. Standing Forward Fold 


Partner yoga standing forward fold

How To:

  • Stand facing away from your partner, walking your feet under your hip points. 

  • Create some space between you and your partner. The amount of space needed depends on anatomy, so it is likely that you will have to play around with this.  

  • Explore a soft to generous bend in your knees. 

  • On the breath in, both you and your partner reach your hands overhead. 

  • On the breath out, both you and your partner hinge forward at the hips, folding forward. 

  • Allow the weight of your head and neck to relax fully in this inversion.

  • Allow your tailbones to gently connect. 

  • Reach your hands between your legs to gently take hold of your partner’s hands or forearms. 

  • Your partner will gently take hold of your hands or forearms as well. 

  • Breathe into the backs of your legs and observe your foot-to-earth connection. 

  • Release the hold after at least 5 breath cycles. 

  • Place your hands or fingertips on the earth in front of you. 

  • Press into your foundation (your feet) as you slowly roll up through your spine. Take your time with this transition. 

  • Standing forward folds are great for releasing tension from your heels all the way to the crown of your head, creating space throughout the back body.


7. Temple Pose 


Partner yoga temple pose

How To:

  • Stand facing towards your partner, leaving a small gap between you and your partner. 

  • Walk your feet under your hip points to establish a strong base. 

  • Explore a small to generous bend in your knees. 

  • Gently rest your hands on your partner’s shoulders. Your partner will rest their hands on your shoulders.  

  • On the breath in, explore finding length through the spinal chain. 

  • On the breath out, maintain this length as you slowly walk your feet back and away from your partner. Your partner will slowly walk their feet away from you.

  • Allow your arms to straighten, maintaining a small bend in your elbows. 

  • You and your partner will stop walking back when your torsos are about parallel to the ground, or when you feel a good opening in your chest and shoulders. 

  • Direct your focus towards the ground to maintain length through the back of your neck.

  • Breathe into the areas where you feel a good stretch taking place, such as into your chest, shoulders, upper back, the backs of your legs and gluteal muscles. 

  • Observe how it feels to connect with your partner in this way. 

  • After about 5 cycles of breath, walk your feet in towards one another. 

  • Release your hands to your hips, press into your feet, and slowly find an upright position. 

  • If it feels good, make eye contact with your partner and smile!


8. Chair Pose 


Partner yoga chair pose

How To:

  • Stand back to back with your partner, walking your feet under your hip points. 

  • Gently rest your back against your partner’s back. 

  • Hook arms with your partner. 

  • Communication is an important part of this pose to ensure that you are entering this posture at the same time. 

  • Both you and your partner bend at the knees, walking your feet forward until your knees are stacked over your ankles. 

  • You may need to make adjustments to your footing to ensure that both you and your partner feel steady in this pose.

  • Continue pressing into each other’s back for stability, support and connection.

  • Explore deepening your breath. Observe how the breath can support you in this pose, especially as your quadriceps and hamstrings start to burn!

  • Explore staying in chair pose for at least 5 cycles of breath before walking your feet in and rising up. 

  • Give each other a high five! Chair pose offers a fun challenge to the mind and body.


9. Tree Pose 


Partner yoga tree pose

Partner yoga modified tree pose

How To:

  • Stand side by side with your partner, walking your feet under your hips.

  • Allow your hips to touch or at least come close to touching. 

  • Reach your inside arms overhead, and interlace your arms so that your palms connect. 

  • Spread through the toes of the inside foot and press out of your foundation. 

  • Slowly lift the outside foot away from the earth, bending at that knee. So now you are balancing on one leg with the support of your partner. 

  • Use your free hand to take hold of your ankle to help you open your knee towards the side. 

  • Place the sole of your foot against your inner calf muscle or your inner thigh. 

  • Another option is to keep your toes resting on the ground, externally rotate at the hip, and then place your heel against your inside ankle (as demonstrated in the one picture above). 

  • Bring your free hands together, exploring prayer hands. 

  • Direct your focus out in front of you. 

  • Take note of how it feels to have the support of your partner as you explore tree pose. 

  • This balancing posture is great for cultivating strength and stability in the body. It can also help enhance concentration and focus. 

  • After about 5 breath cycles, release your foot to the earth and allow your arms to rest at your sides. 

  • Repeat on the other side to balance things out.


10. Corpse Pose


Partner yoga corpse pose

How To:

  • Although the name doesn’t sound very romantic, this pose can evoke feelings of love, closeness and connection. 

  • Before easing your back body onto the surface beneath you, kindly ensure that there is a little space between you and your partner. 

  • You and your partner will be resting side by side, holding hands. 

  • As you lower onto your back, extend your legs out long and allow your arms to run alongside your body. 

  • Take hold of your partner’s hand as you soften your gaze or close your eyes. 

  • As you relax here, take note of how it feels to hold hands. Notice the temperature of your hands or tingling sensations. Listen to the sound of your partner’s breath. Explore synchronizing your breath; breathing in and out together. 

  • You can rest here for as long as time allows. 

  • When both you and your partner feel ready to sit up, bend at your knees, roll onto your side and then press up to a seat. 

  • If it feels good, give each other a hug. Feel the warmth of their body and the rhythm of their heart against your body. 


Partner Yoga Tips


1. Practice on a surface that is supportive, such as a yoga mat, and explore practicing without socks on.


Practicing barefoot is recommended to avoid slipping and to increase your foot-to-earth connection. This is extremely useful when exploring balancing postures. Skin-to-skin contact can also increase feelings of intimacy and connection between you and your partner. With that said, some individuals may prefer to practice with their socks on. 

 

2. Communicate your boundaries with your partner before beginning your practice. 


There may be certain poses that don’t feel safe in your body, such as inversions or back bends. Communicating what feels safe and what feels unsafe, can ensure that both you and your partner have an enjoyable experience. Also, communicate if certain areas of your body are off limits when it comes to touch. Examples could be your lower back, inner thighs, feet, and so on. Communicating your boundaries cultivates a sense of safety within your mind and body. This can help you relax and be fully present throughout the practice. 


3. Decide upon a nonverbal cue to use to let your partner know when to stop, or when you wish to make your way out of the pose. 


A nonverbal cue could be a gentle tap of your index finger on your partner’s arm. This gentle tap can indicate that you want your partner to stop guiding you into the stretch. You could gently squeeze your partner’s hand or arm to communicate that you’re ready to transition out of the pose. These nonverbal cues can be useful for creating feelings of calm and safety throughout the practice.  


4. Remain present throughout the practice.


Practicing present moment awareness can help deepen your connection to your partner and to your yoga practice. You can practice present moment awareness by observing the natural flow of your breath, breathing in and out with your partner, sensing your connection to the ground, looking into each other’s eyes, moving in sync, observing how your body connects with your partner’s body, and by paying attention to any interesting sensations experienced internally (Somatic Exercises: Explore Internal Sensations with Somatic Yoga).  


5. Encourage each other. 


Be each other’s cheerleader! Saying positive, uplifting and kind words to each other can take your partner yoga practice to the next level. It’s a great way to boost self-esteem and confidence as you explore yoga poses together. 


6. Observe your breath and your partner’s breath throughout the practice.


Bringing awareness to your breath (and your partner’s breath), can elicit the relaxation response within your body. Conscious breathing can improve sleep quality, lower blood pressure, improve focus, increase feelings of joy, soothe sensations experienced in the body (physical, mental and emotional), and promote creativity. Tune into the breath throughout your practice to experience some or all of these amazing benefits! 


7. Avoid putting on lotion before your practice.


Using body lotion can make the skin extremely slippery. This can cause your partner to slip or lose their grip while in the pose. 


8. Have fun! 


Let go of what the pose “should” look like. It’s okay if the pose looks nothing like what you see on Instagram. Focus on the sensation. In other words, focus on how the pose feels in your body. Explore how the pose feels when you rest your weight against your partner. If you feel all wobbly in a pose, embrace it. If you safely fall out of a pose, laugh it off. Or better yet, shake it off! Let it go. Take the pressure off. Explore. Play. Get curious. Enjoy the journey of connecting or reconnecting with your partner. 


Explore yoga poses for two people using this free partner yoga class.



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I look forward to connecting with you on the mat!


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