Opening yourself up to the idea of Partner Yoga can be very rewarding. One of the principles of yoga is achieving union with others by recognizing yourself in other people. Partner Yoga can be explored through traditional yoga styles (Hatha, Tantra, Karma, etc.), along with several newer partner-only yoga styles such as AcroYoga, Satsang and Matkin yoga.
The best way to practice connectivity with your partner is to synchronize breathing. Start this practice standing apart and facing away from your partner. Focus on your own breath at first, and then each of you begins backing up toward the other. Once you are touching your partner, focus on aligning your breath and standing connected without overpowering one another.
Once this synchronicity of breath has been established, you and your partner can move into any of the partner practice sequences with which you both are comfortable. Partner yoga can include partner-assisted yoga, where you both do the same pose or mirrored poses; or you can integrate contact yoga, where you and your partner do different poses while being in contact with each other.
A classic mirrored Partner Yoga pose is doing the Tree Pose (Vrikshasana). In this pose, partners stand side by side, facing in the same direction with an arm around each other’s waist and the palms of their outside hands touching in a namaste pose. As one partner balances on the left foot, the other balances on the right. The joined palms can then be raised together over the couple’s heads. The smallest movements in one person can have a ripple effect on the other, and the Tree Pose teaches us to find balance with each other.
Practicing yoga with a partner can be like having your own yoga instructor by your side. The more you practice together, the more you understand each other’s limits, so eventually your partner can make suggestions for deepening poses without pushing you beyond your limits. Your partner’s advice can then be integrated into your personal practice quite easily.