When you think of couples yoga, the first thing that may come to mind is partners getting in touch with their inner feelings and emotions. While this is one great benefit of practicing yoga as a couple, there are plenty of other reasons why you and your partner might want to join forces on the mat.
For beginners, practicing yoga poses with someone else can provide added support and feedback, helping you to stay on track and work through any difficulties. Plus, it’s just plain fun! So if you’re looking for some easy couples yoga poses to start with, look no further. Below are five simple poses that anyone can do.
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Why is Couples Yoga Beneficial?
Couples yoga is unique because it allows both partners to practice yoga together and have fun doing it. Even if you don’t come in with a specific goal, simply moving your body in new ways with the person you love can be its own reward. Not to mention, couples yoga can be an opportunity for you and your partner to grow closer. It lets you have a shared experience that strengthens communication and understanding between you.
If you want to build intimacy and trust with your partner, try communicating through yoga. Even basic poses will require some back-and-forth discussion. For example, during a stretch, you might ask your S.O. where their “tolerance” is (that point where they’re still participating, but it’s not painful). Plus, you’ll feel more empowered in the relationship by being vocal about what you need from them.
Grounding and centering at the start of your yoga practice helps you connect with both your spiritual surroundings and physical space. It also sets a positive state of mind for the upcoming session, which is essential for performing yoga effectively.
- How to Perform this Yoga Pose: Sit cross-legged on your mat with your spine straight. Rest your hands on your thighs, then close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. As you inhale, imagine that you are drawing energy up from the ground below. On the exhale, let any tension in your body go. Once you’ve settled into the pose, open your eyes and look straight ahead.
Seated Cat Cow
The cat-cow is a two-part yoga stretch that works the hips, core, and back. It also helps open up the lungs and chest. Remember to breathe deeply during this position.
- How to Perform this Yoga Pose: Sit in your chair and grab hold of the person’s forearm sitting next to you. Keep a tight grip as you slightly recline your shoulders back and down. As you breathe in, raise your chest up towards the ceiling, creating a small arch in your upper middle back region. Exhale, tuck your chin into your chest, rounding through the uppercase middle back and spreading shoulder blades wide apart. For a few cycles of breath, continue the same movement. As you gradually warm up your spine, lift your eyes to the ceiling while breathing in. When exhaling, let your gaze fall to your belly button. In total, do ten to twelve rounds while both building trust and utilizing support from a partner. This will help you find a sense of openness in the chest and upper back region.
Back-to-Back Chair Pose
Use this pose to improve your support for each other as beginner yogis. Chair pose is also great for toning the muscles in your thighs and feet while gaining greater mobility in your ankles. For more experienced yogis, use this position to deepen your stretch.
How to do it: With your arms relaxed at your sides, stand back-to-back with your partner. Keeping your backs pressed firmly together, take a step away from each other so that you are hip-width apart. Slowly lower down into a squat as if you were sitting in an invisible chair.”
Come to a ninety-degree angle with your knees, pause and take five to six deep breaths. Be sure to lengthen your spine by lifting the crown of your head and keep an even distribution of weight through both feet. To exit this pose, press down evenly into each other’s hands to straighten the legs. Doing this exercise will help build trust between you and your partner, which is especially necessary while moving from a standing position to sitting in a chair–when your partner is acting as support.
Seated Forward Backbend
These two stretches, the forward bend and backbend target weak leg muscles for people just starting to exercise. If you or your partner aren’t super flexible yet, take it easy at first, so you don’t get hurt.
- How to Perform this Yoga Pose: Have one partner sit with their legs extended and begin to fold forward. The other partner should bend the knees and place both feet flat on the floor, beginning to lean back onto the support of the other person.
- Hold for five to six deep breaths, then come up into a standing position and switch positions with your partner. This exercise cultivates physical connection as you lean into each other.
Yoga is notorious for its full-body stretches; these two are the most popular. As an additional bonus, they work great with a partner since you can help each other fully extend the stretch.
- How to Perform this Yoga Pose: Position one partner in a wide-legged child’s pose, with the big toes touching and the knees apart at hip width or wider. The arms should be outstretched to shoulder width or wider.
Have your partner stand facing you and have him or her grasp each of your ankles with both hands. You can then walk your feet back until the other person’s elbows lift off the ground, providing a gentle stretch in the side body, shoulders and arms. Next, the standing partner can bend over at their hips, placing their hands on the back of their partner’s pelvis (for tight hamstrings, a standing partner can gently bend knees). Again, the importance is to make sure your hands are placed on the fleshy part of the area and not directly spine. In addition, the person who is standing can also shift more weight into hinged arms- giving a gentle massage to said region.
Hold each other close and take five to six deep breaths, trusting one another. Then, to transition out of this position, have the person standing to bend their knees slightly and move more weight into their heels as they come back up to standing tall.
Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. It can also be used to improve communication and trust between partners. If you are just starting out, taking things slow is important, and be careful not to overstretch or strain yourself. Remember to focus on your breath and be present in the moment. With time and practice, you’ll be able to progress to more difficult poses.