Before couples yoga is introduced to partners, yoga is often perceived as an activity done alone. What always comes to mind is a single person doing stretches and breathing exercises in deep concentration and solitude.
As more people embrace yoga, partners can now experience the same rewarding benefits. Partner yoga can bring many positive benefits into a relationship aside from the individual benefits of yoga.
What is couples yoga?
Couples yoga, also referred to as partner yoga, allows two people to connect through a series of poses.
More than a regular wellness activity for the mind and body, couples yoga is a great way to strengthen their bond and move toward a better relationship. It establishes communication, trust, and connection between partners while receiving a whole lot of benefits for their growth.
Couples yoga benefits
Couples yoga has a myriad of benefits like other physical exercises. It ranges from health and well-being to a positive impact on a couple’s intimacy. This relaxing activity lets partners connect on a deeper level.
Here are some of the physical and mental benefits partners can get from doing yoga together:
The physical advantages of yoga have already been proven by science. Yoga is a low-impact activity that boosts one’s health and is as effective as high-impact exercises when done in the long term.
Yoga poses increase flexibility. It plays a vital role in attaining good physical health. It is essentially helpful for the aging population whose flexibility diminishes as they get older. While this is a natural occurrence among the elderly, mild to moderate yoga poses are proven to slow down their loss of flexibility.
With couples yoga that requires movement and lifts, a partner’s body weight helps increase the pressure received by the other. Thus, it allows for the improvement of each other’s stretch and flexibility. It fast-tracks stretching without experiencing strains during the yoga practice.
A regular partner yoga practice develops strength for both partners. As you go along the practice and move on to moderate poses, strength is also built. This is highly evident during partner poses where lifting is required.
Improves posture and balance
With a partner, yoga further develops proper posture. Each partner serves as the other’s guide just like a mirror while simultaneously achieving the desired pose. Partner yoga also improves alignment, balance, and concentration in the process.
Reduces impact from chronic conditions
The availability of various yoga styles and intensities make yoga as effective as high-impact exercises that help in lowering inflammation from chronic conditions. Yoga decreases potential risks from diabetes, injuries, cancer, and heart diseases.
One of the most common couples yoga benefits is to manage mental health. As each yoga pose brings inner peace, concentration, and connection with one’s body, it also relieves tension and discomfort.
Lowers stress and anxiety
Firm physical support and gentle touch contribute to easing yoga partners’ body tensions. The sense of touch by your partner immediately lowers the neural response to tension. Studies show that neural response is stronger and quicker when touching your partner’s hands than with any other person.
In addition, certain yoga poses support parts of the body by creating space for new energy to flow. As a result, the body parts experience relief from mental and body strains.
Mental clarity and calmness
The incorporation of meditation and breathing helps improve a person’s mental health and well-being. It also sharpens one’s concentration, clearing the mind with distraction, and achieving calmness from within.
Relationship and intimacy
Counseling is not the only technique therapies used for couples in rocky stages. Couples therapy techniques now include partner yoga as an intervention. Many find it useful and effective in restoring intimacy and romance.
Builds trust and communication
Couples yoga is built with trust and communication. Partners tend to lean on each other to perform poses that require counter pressure. This improves their confidence in one another. Throughout the process, communication is the key. Hand gestures and sounds create a sense of communication with a minimal exchange of words.
It may seem a tad awkward when you start practicing partner yoga as a beginner. But as the practice becomes a regular endeavor, partners get to let their guards down and be their genuine selves. The trust and communication established also inculcates honesty and a sense of authenticity. Partners do not need to pretend and be afraid of being judged when there is self-awareness of each other’s presence.
Partners who are distant and disengaged may also benefit from having couples yoga to bring them back together. The practice lets the couple physically and emotionally nurture each other which can transcend beyond the class and in their day-to-day living. Eventually, partners get to restore connections and rebuild rapport.
Improves sexual satisfaction
Couples yoga classes are not entirely sexual. However, partners can achieve intimacy benefits in the process.
Because couples yoga classes start with building trust and connection and are cultivated by synchronized breathing, touch, and movement, partners likely experience deepened intimacy towards each other. For couples who are experiencing sexual problems, engaging in couples yoga can improve their sex drive.
Couples yoga classes are overall fun and enjoyable physical activity for partners to bond. Happiness and satisfaction among couples are nurtured during the class and even after as they go home.
Couples yoga poses for beginners
After knowing these benefits, now’s the time to try out easy couples yoga poses. Here are several simple beginner poses you and your partner can start with.
Partner Seat Forward Fold
This pose is perfect for couples yoga beginners. When doing the forward seat fold pose alone, it can be a simple and easy one. As a couple, the good stretch is doubled, making it an enjoyable encounter.
How to do it: Sit down back-to-back with your legs stretched out in front. Your partner should mirror the same pose. Fold forward as your partner leans back. The pressure of your partner’s back will gently force you into a deeper, more intense stretch. Stay in the pose for a couple of breaths. Switch positions after.
Partner Butterfly Pose
The pose is an intimate couple yoga pose that improves stretches in the lower back and the entire spine.
How to do it: Begin with your rears on the ground and your backs against each other. Stretch your spine to achieve a straight posture. Do not slouch. Press the soles of your feet together while you keep your knees apart. Move your feet closer to your crotch to attain a deeper stretch. While on it, put your focus on your breathing. Inhale deeply and slowly for a count of four. Exhale for an extended count of five. Repeat this breathing pattern ten times.
Expert tip: For partners who have a hard time pressing the feet for a deeper stretch, you can settle with your legs crossed and knees pressed down with your elbows.
One of the best poses to stretch your core is the partner twist pose.
How to do it: It starts with a seated position, legs crossed at the ankles or shins. Rest your backs against each other. Your partner’s hands should be placed on the thighs or knees. Connect with your partner by focusing on each other’s deep breathing. Fully inhale while you extend your arms over the top of your head. As you do this, slowly focus on lengthening your spine.
Then exhale and twist to your right. Bring your right hand inside your partner’s left knee. Slowly put your left hand on the outside of your right knee. Your partner will mirror your movement. Hold this pose for five breaths before you exhale and untwist. Continue the pose on the other side.
Expert tip: If you are in the process of detoxification, you can use this yoga pose to stimulate abdominal and digestive organs.
This easy couples yoga pose encourages mindfulness and relaxation in a calming position.
How to do it: Begin this pose in a seated position with your legs crossed at your shins or ankles. Rest your backs against each other. Your hands must reach for your thighs.
Focus on connecting with your partner through a breathing pattern. As your partner breathes in, follow it with a breath out. Alternately breathe with your partner as you both feel the pressure on each other’s back against the back of your rib cage.
Partner Forward Fold
Another calming pose is the partner forward fold which centers on improving the nervous system. It is focused on strengthening the spine and the arms.
How to do it: Begin this pose in a seated position with your legs extended. It must look like a wide “V” shape. Kneecaps should face up. Your feet ‘ soles need to touch your partner’s feet.
Extend your arms toward your partner, then gently grab their forearm with your palm. Your partner will mimic your position. Extend your spine as both of you inhale deeply. Exhale and fold forward from your hips while your partner folds back. The spine and arms should remain straight.
Wait for five to seven breaths before softening from the pose. Release each other’s arms then move back to your original position.
Child’s Pose and Fish Pose
The child’s pose is often performed to promote better relaxation. It also deepens stretch and reduces stress. You can execute the child’s pose while the other fulfills the fish pose.
How to do it: Start with the child’s pose. Position yourself to a wide-knee version to keep pressure off your chest. This makes you breathe openly.
On the other hand, your partner will do the fish pose. Your partner should lay their back on top of yours. Your partner must spread their legs flat on the ground while putting the entire upper body on the upper part of your body.
Breathe simultaneously. Inhale and exhale together. Switch positions after a repetitive breathing pattern.
Partner Savasana, also identified as the corpse pose, is another easy couple yoga position. This is done to cap off a yoga session by further enhancing the effect of the whole practice. Partner Savasana has been proven to reduce stress, improve digestion, and support heart health.
How to do it: Lie down on your back with your partner next to you in the same position. Afterward, take a hold of your partner’s hand while simultaneously relaxing.
Stay in this pose for five to ten minutes and enjoy the deep relaxation it brings. You will feel a connection with your partner as your body eases from the session’s arduousness.
Expert tip: The effortless pose often leads to falling asleep because of the relaxed position. Having a partner lying beside you and holding your hand helps in staying awake during the duration of the pose.
Every 5-10 breaths, move your fingers lightly as a reminder for your partner to remain awake. Your partner shall also do the same in return.
Getting started with couples yoga
Are you ready to get started with couples yoga? It is important to be geared with the right tools, equipment, and helpful tips to guide you through.
Supplies for couples yoga beginners
Although you are just beginning to try couples yoga, you can start getting basic yoga supplies if you plan to make it a regular practice with your partner. Investing in these essentials saves you the inconvenience and gives you more time to focus on your poses and balance.
We’ve gathered some great recommendations that you can buy from Amazon. Check out these partner yoga supplies you will need as a beginner:
Comfort is key. A major factor in attaining comfort is having the right yoga clothing that suits you best.
Invest in quality yoga pants that will keep you relaxed even during tough poses. Choose stretchable, thick, high-waisted, and snug-fitting materials to keep everything in place. These yoga pants from Amazon provide compression and support for active women.
Men or women alike, if you are not the type to wear fitting pants, consider loose pants or harem-style pants that keep you cool and comfortable. These provide room for big movements while still staying in place.
If practicing with others you may want to avoid loose shirts that might reveal body parts, especially in poses that require upside-down movements.
For men, these cotton yoga sweatpants from Amazon have wide leg openings and an elastic waistband with a drawstring for a relaxed and secure fit.
If you prefer shorts, check out these Under Armor shorts with quick-drying ultra-soft Tech fabric.
It is important to have yoga clothing that will not bother you and may distract you during your practice.
A yoga mat is an essential tool in beginners couples yoga. These provide cushions for your joints and support the entire body to minimize the risks of injuries. While gyms and yoga studios usually provide yoga mats for their members, you may want to buy your couple yoga mats. A matching yoga mat is good in the eyes and suggests similarity and connection.
When buying yoga mats, decide which feature suits both of you. Discuss with your partner your requirements for a perfect yoga mat. Factors such as material, durability, length, thickness, traction, and comfort should always be considered. You can also consider getting a yoga mat with extra thickness for additional cushion and support.
Check out this Gaiam yoga mat that comes in many colors and shapes and has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 8000 reviews.
For extra padding and comfort, check out this extra-thick yoga mat from Gaiam as well.
Aside from your trusted mat, yoga practice is easier for beginner couples with yoga blocks. These make it possible to reach the floor without causing too much strain.
With these sturdy and non-slip cork yoga blocks, beginners veer away from developing bad habits in a yoga practice that may seem hard to undo in the long run.
Yoga blocks help in attaining proper posture for tough positions. It also allows yogis to increase flexibility as they move along the practice. Yoga blocks likewise lower the risks for injuries.
Mat bags or slings
If both of you go regularly to the yoga studio, you may want to also invest in mat bags or slings. These bags help you carry your rolled mats with ease.
And if you are traveling to a different place, yoga bags and slings are great purchases as well. These beautiful yoga mat bags with extra storage are a great choice and can even help you carry small stuff with you like a hand towel, water tumbler, or a mobile phone.
Towels should come in handy during partner yoga classes. Keep a hand towel for wiping off sweat during the practice. Have another clean one if you need it as a cushion or a strap.
Another essential is a mat towel, ideally the same length as your yoga mat. It covers your mat during periods when practices can get sweaty depending on the type of yoga you are into such as hot yoga or vinyasa yoga. Pooling of sweat puddles in your yoga mat can be risky. A mat towel to absorb the sweat saves you from slipping or falling. Getting a 2-in-1 quick-dry and non-slip hand towel and mat yoga towel set with corner straps may fit your everyday yoga sessions.
These products do not have to cost much. There are suppliers which offer affordable yet quality items that fit your budget. Before buying anything, make sure to check out good reviews so you will know that you will get the proper value for your money. You may also seek suggestions from your yoga trainers and see if these are a good fit for both of you.
Tips for a fun and easy couples yoga experience
Couple yoga classes are aimed at making the couple at ease and feel more connected with each other after the practice. These are the ways to make your couples yoga classes fun and enjoyable activity.
Before the start of couples yoga classes, partners should communicate the limitations and boundaries within the practice. Talk about the goals for each class and discuss them one by one.
Each partner has different muscle sensitivity or body regions that need to be approached with profound caution. Communication before every practice is important to prevent conflicts in the middle of sessions. This allows a smooth practice without undesirable occurrences.
Practice non-verbal communication
Communication in yoga does not have to be verbal. In fact, what is ideal is minimal conversation and deeper coordinated non-verbal practice. Couples can utilize non-verbal ways to facilitate open communication.
Gentle sounds like “mmmm” or “ah” relay satisfaction or enjoyment while grunting sounds mean tension and pressure. It also helps to pay attention to your partner’s body and see if it is relaxed or in discomfort. Help each other achieve the desired result with a lending hand.
Do not compete with your partner
Partners’ bodies are not created equal. Thus, it is expected that one may be stronger and more flexible than the other. Acceptance of difference should be in place before the practice.
Practicing yoga with a partner is not a competition where one has to prove physical domination over the other. Support and help must be always present.
Whether it is a simple couples yoga pose or a difficult one, the focus should always be present in the practice. You will enjoy the benefits of couples yoga poses when you fully immerse yourself in the practice.
While we advise staying concentrated, it does not mean that you forget your surroundings and your partner. Be mindful of your partner’s body and breathing pattern. Align yourselves together by meeting in the middle.
Couples yoga cultivates mindfulness among the couple and highlights a sense of being aware of the present moment. For example, incorporating breathing exercises with your partner promotes being one with each other.
Keep the atmosphere light and friendly
It is important to approach couples yoga with a playful attitude. As said, this can be a little awkward at first but as you stay at ease with your partner and give full support instead of being stern, stressful, and disapproving, both of you will get the hang of it. You will eventually find yourself enjoying every bit of the practice.
Private couples yoga classes
Beginner couples yoga classes are a fun and meaningful activity to do with your partner.
The exciting part is that you do not need to go to the yoga studio to try couples yoga. This can be done at home or even while you are on vacation through a virtual platform.
Each class has an expert yoga instructor to guide and provide support. The instructor will help you practice safely and guide you through the practice in a way that enriches the mind and the body.
More importantly, these classes create a fun and nurturing environment for relationships to grow.