Traditionally, yoga has been a solo practice. It’s a time of self-reflection and introspection. But it doesn’t always have to be. You can learn just as much about yourself and your body while practicing with a partner. Plus, partner yoga (often referred to as AcroYoga because it combines acrobatics and yoga) has the added benefit of building trust between you and your partner. And then there’s the additional core strength needed for the person in the air (the flyer) and the lower-body strength required of the person supporting the flyer (the base). So grab a partner and get inspired by the following 11 yoga poses built for two.
This is a great pose to start with. Although it does require a lot of core strength, it’s very low to the ground, and with proper technique you will notice it can be easier than you think. HOW TO DO IT: Start with the taller or stronger of the pair in a plank on the bottom. Palms are under shoulders, legs are straight and the core is engaged. Then the top person — facing the feet of the base — steps across the hips of the base. Folding forward, place both palms securely on the ankles of the base, core strong and engaged, and step one foot at a time onto the shoulders of the base. Hold for three to five breaths if you can before slowly stepping down one foot at a time. If possible, switch so the person who was the base is on now top.
This pose is so simple and accessible, yet it’s very powerful to practice. HOW TO DO IT: The base starts in a table position facing the ceiling with feet hip-distance apart and hands shoulder-distance apart. Lift your hips as high as you can so your knees, hips, back and head are in a single line. The top partner will step across the base’s body, facing the base’s knees. Place one hand at a time on the base’s shoulders, engage your core and bandhas and gently and firmly step one foot at a time on the base’s knees/lower thighs. Hold for three to five breaths and step down with grace and control.
EXTENDED DOUBLE TABLE
This is a more challenging version of the double table, as you must balance with one leg extended. HOW TO DO IT: Start in the same position as double table, the flyer balancing on the base’s shoulders and knees/lower thighs. At first, just the flyer should lift her leg, and if both feel secure and strong, the base can lift the leg on the same side. Hold for three to five breaths and switch sides. Dismount is the same as the basic double table.
This is the best pose to strengthen your core and improve balance. HOW TO DO IT: Start seated facing each other with knees bent. Touching the soles of your feet together, place your hands behind you to stabilize and lift the legs toward the sky. Engage the core, lengthen the spine and lift the heart toward the sky. Keep your back straight and your core engaged the entire time. Hold for three to five breaths and release.
BOUND DOUBLE BOAT
Take your double boat one step further by adding a bind. Just like double boat, this core-strengthening partner pose is great for balance and flexibility as well as incorporating a bit of upper-body strength. HOW TO DO IT: Start seated and facing your partner with knees bent. Lift your feet off the floor until your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Your palms should start behind you on the floor to stabilize as you connect the soles of your feet together. Using your core strength to keep your spine long and tailbone tilted so you have length from the sacrum, press your feet together and up to the sky until the legs are as straight as you can get them. To bind the hands, reach one hand out to clasp the wrist and hand of your partner, keep your heart lifted as you reach the other arm to clasp the other wrist and hand of your partner. Lift your heart and lengthen the spine and look straight at your partner or out to the side.