Downward Dog + Supported Handstand Prep, Partner Yoga
Downward Dog + Supported Handstand Prep
Relationships have a way of stretching us, of testing our balance and flexibility, and teaching us about ourselves. Sound familiar? If you practice yoga, this is precisely what you hope to achieve in each session. But it can extend to relationships as well. Practicing yoga with a partner is a great way to build trust and connectivity, and with all those limbs flying in the air, you’ll definitely need to communicate. With that in mind, here are 10 Partner Yoga poses to deepen your stretches and your relationships:
Child’s Pose is an accessible restorative posture that gently stretches the lower back – perfect for starting your practice. Begin on your hands and knees and then lower your hips and head to the floor. Reach forward until your fingers touch, to share a moment of calm and connectivity.
Child’s Pose and Backbend
It may look like the top partner is having all the fun with this one, but one of the great things about partner yoga is the way that different postures complement each other. Start with one partner in Child’s Pose. The second partner can take a seat, aligning their sit bones to their partner’s pelvis. Lay back slowly, and then extend the legs. This pose helps the bottom partner move further into the stretch and alleviates back pain, while the partner on top gets a wonderful chest and shoulder opener.
Seated Forward Fold
This is a great pose for learning to communicate your limits. Gently pull on your partner’s forearms to help them deepen the stretch, working the back, shoulders and hamstrings.
Modified Boat Pose
Boat Pose is well-known as a core buster, but it can also be a tricky balancing act. With your partner to support you you’ll be less likely to capsize and you’ll also learn just how far you can push them. Sit down with your knees bent, hold your partner’s arms and connect your feet, raising one and then the other to help stretch and straighten your legs.
Open your heart (and shoulders) with this pose. Often, we don’t go very far in our backbends because we feel nervous, but with a partner to rely on, you’re free to see just how far you can go.
Partner Tree Pose
This one’s pretty simple – Tree Pose is a balance pose, and it’s always easier to find your balance when you’ve got someone to lean on. Play around with the arm positions to see how it affects your equilibrium and just how many ways you can connect.
Much like the Forward Fold, practicing this posture with a partner allows you to increase the stretch. Carefully pull your partner’s arm to deepen their twist, developing trust and communication along with back flexibility.
Downward Dog and Supported Handstand Prep
This one’s for the more experienced yogi, and it’s especially great if you’re learning how to handstand. Have one partner get into downward dog while the second puts their hands on the ground and then places their feet on their partner’s lower back. This helps the Down-dogger stretch their hamstrings and put their heels on the ground, while the Hand-Stander gets added support.
Here’s a true challenge pose – a double headstand that supports your balance, but puts your trust and communication to the test. First, move into a headstand with both your fingertips almost touching behind your head. Now comes the fun part - finding your partner’s feet without knocking them over!
Finish your practice by sharing a quiet moment with your partner. Going back to back will help you straighten your spine, and connect your breath. The person with their arms reaching back will get a great shoulder opener, while the other partner gets a hug!
See our other stories in the yoga series: