Advertising
Advertising

Published on April 22, 2019

11 Partner Yoga Poses for Couples to Build Intimacy

11 Partner Yoga Poses for Couples to Build Intimacy

Our partners are mirrors to our true self. By embracing a partner yoga practice with one another, we not only lean on each other for support – literally and metaphorically – but we also exercise our vulnerability with one another.

Science has found that by doing so, we’re strengthening our social connections and relationships, which leads to longer lives, healthier habits, reduced stress, and a deeper sense of life meaning.[1]

So how does yoga help with this exactly? In Sanskrit, “yoga” comes from the word yuj, meaning “to yoke” or “to unite”.[2] It’s only appropriate to mirror that definition with a partner, and in essence, begin to unite two people as a whole. Partner yoga also has its roots in building trust and communication, which are cornerstones of a healthy, intimate, and successful relationship.

Let’s break down some poses for a deeper dive:

1. Breathing Together

    A great yoga practice begins with the breath. It’s a simple yet powerful way of connecting to your own body and noticing any sensations that arise.

    Find a seated position with your partner, your backs touching. With eyes closed, tune into you breathing, and begin to deepen the inhales and the exhales.

    You will feel the rise and fall of your partner’s breathing, as you tune into each other’s rhythms. See if you can still maintain your own breath, even when it becomes tempting to mirror the breathing of your partner; allow this rhythm to lull you deeper into becoming present and aware of each other’s space.

    Even in unity, you honor your own body and breath, and that honor extends outward to your partner. With this life force – prana [3] – you’re able to find a richer connection to each other with a simple act of breathing.

    Do this exercise for 3-5 minutes, or as long as it is comfortable.

    2. Partner Twist

      A twist is a great natural detox for the body. When the torso is twisted in the opposite direction, the movement acts as a wringing action for the internal organs, and via an exhale, built-up toxicity can be eliminated from the body.[4]

      With your backs touching, take a deep breath in. As you exhale, gently twist, going in the opposite direction of each other. Take one hand and place it on your opposite knee, with the other hand reaching back for your partner’s. Use a yoga strap if this is not available.

      Advertising

      Allow the breathing to once again sync you with your partner’s rhythm, and notice what it’s like to have the support of your partner’s hand to help ease a little deeper into the twist.

      Stay in the twist for 5 full breaths, and then switch sides.

      3. Backbend/Forward Fold

        While your backs are still touching, communicate who will fold forward and who will come into a backbend. You’ll have a chance to switch sides.

        The person folding forward will reach their hands forward and either rest their forehead down on the mat, or place it on a block for support. The person doing a backbend will lean back on their partner’s back and open the front of their heart and chest. Breathe deeply here, and see if you can feel each other’s breaths again.

        In yoga, the heart is thought of as the place in front and back of your chest, as it’s the same area opening. So in this pose, even though you’re doing the opposite move, your hearts are still connected. Think about how that translates to your relationship off the mat.

        Stay in this pose for 5 full breaths, and switch when you’re both ready.

        4. Soul Gazing

          This exercise is deeply personal and nourishing, as you sit facing your partner, gently gazing into their eyes.

          Rest your hands on their knees or in their hands, and allow them to do the same. This will further connect you with the power of touch. Once you’re settled (and the giggles have subsided from direct eye contact), begin to truly see your partner.

          In the chaos of our days and weeks, we don’t often get the chance to sit down and take in the person with whom we share our life. Gently gaze and take in your partner’s features, uniqueness, and energy, and allow them to see you in return. Not only is this centering for the rest of your practice, it’s also deeply loving and compassionate.

          Stay in this exercise for 5 minutes or longer, if you both feel tuned in.

          5. Seated and Supported Cat/Cow

          Advertising

            From a seated position, reach for your partner’s forearms and interlace.

            As you inhale, arch your back and lift your heart to the sky, maybe even lifting the gaze to expose and open the throat. As you exhale, round the spine and pull back, using the resistance of each other’s arms as support, bringing the gaze inward toward your chest.

            Repeat the movements 3-5 times, or as long as you feel comfortable.

            Allow this support from your partner to begin to build trust and surrender, as well as communication. Speak out to what feels good in this pose, and ask your partner the same.

            While the pose is done in tandem, your experience of it in your own body is going to vary. Take this time to share those sensations, and become curious of your partner’s.

            6. Seated and Supported Forward Fold

              In relationships, we know that we don’t have to do everything on our own. We have our best ally in our corner to help us out.

              Likewise in this pose, come into a wide-legged seat with the soles of your feet touching. Reach the arms forward and interlace, and then take turns gently pulling one another closer past middle, using each other as resistance in this Forward Fold. Stay here for 5 full breaths each.

              While this pose is a deep stretch, maybe opt for more of a playful approach! If laughter comes naturally or someone cracks a joke, go along!

              Find fun in working out and being with one another. It’s a surefire way to relieve any stress or tension, and remind each other of the simpler things that bring you both some more smiles.

              7. Partner Boat Pose

                When it comes to postures that are challenging, having a partner mirroring and supporting you can go a long way to giving you that extra boost of confidence and energy. And because they’re doing it with you, too, you can both share in the achievement of rocking this core-engaging posture.

                Start in a seated position, facing one another, a little further away to give enough room for extending the legs. When you’re ready, come into Boat pose one leg at a time, until the soles of your feet are touching.

                Advertising

                Use them as resistance to further stabilize this pose. If available, reach for each other’s hands, and find each other’s gaze. Smile and breathe. Communicate how you’re feeling and root each other on for 5 full breaths.

                8. Double Downward Dog

                  Speaking of building trust, this pose will give you and your partner a chance to work together toward a common goal. This pose is also all about communication, and speaking your mind when you’re ready to come down or are feeling a sensation that you’d like to share with your significant other.

                  With your partner in traditional Downward Dog, set yourself up by coming into a Forward Fold at the top of the mat. Lifting one foot at a time, place your feet at the base of your partner’s spine. You may need to adjust your feet or walk your hands back once you get into this, to readjust.

                  Once in the pose, breathe there for 5 full breaths, before you switch. After you come out, touch base on how it felt and what you experienced. Share in the pose together by bringing in your specific perspective.

                  9. Reverse Warrior Partner Pose

                    If it’s not evident from the photo above, this pose is all about creating love – literally and symbolically.

                    Begin in Warrior Two facing away from each other, with the outside of your back foot touching. Allow this back foot connection to unite you together in the pose, building a shared foundation from which you can stabilize.

                    Take a deep breath in, and on an exhale, come into your Reverse Warrior by lifting one arm overhead and reaching back for your partner’s grasp, creating a heart shape in the middle of your joined pose. Use a yoga strap if catching your partner’s hand is not available.

                    Take your other hand and wrap it behind your waist. Settle your attention on your breathing and press into your partner’s foot as they do the same. Likewise, mirror the support of their hand in yours.

                    The love you create in your relationship is a two-way street. Remind yourself of all the wonderful ways in which you give and take to build that love. Take 5 full breaths here, and then release when you’re both ready.

                    10. Double Tree Pose

                      No man is an island, and likewise, no tree thrives without support.

                      Advertising

                      In this partner pose, begin in your own Tree, by lifting one leg and pressing the sole of the foot into the thigh or down lower on the calf.

                      When you’ve caught your balance, extend one hand to your partner’s and meet them, palms touching, in the center between your respective Tree postures. Take your other hand and reach it back behind your partner, giving them a loving embrace. Stay here for 5 full breaths before switching sides.

                      Even though your Tree pose is your own, find the center connection that brings you both together in unity.

                      Allow yourself to feel and appreciate the support you get from your partner, on and especially off the mat.

                      11. Standing Partner Backbend

                        Opening our hearts to each other is the most raw way of showing our vulnerability. That’s why this pose is so powerful in tandem. By using each other for support, you’re reassuring your partner that anything is possible (and better) when you have each other.

                        Start standing and facing each other, as you interlace each other’s forearms. Take a deep breath in as you hold each other’s gaze, and on an exhale, lean back to open your heart to the sky, using each other’s arms as resistance. Stay here for 5 full breaths, or as long as it’s comfortable for you both.

                        Release and end with a hug, honoring the space you’ve created for each other and yourself.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Partner yoga asks for vulnerability. Through the power of touch and synced breathing, we forge deeper and richer connections in our relationship with our partner.

                        The experiences we share together and individually in these yoga postures become topics of communication that can help us learn more about each other and ourselves, further growing our intimacy to heights never felt before.

                        Practice these poses with your partner whenever you are craving that bough of connection or intimacy. Challenge each other with postures that are both energizing and restorative, and tune into each other’s unique experiences for more wholesomeness in your relationship.

                        Featured photo credit: Victor Freitas via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        More by this author

                        Aleksandra Slijepcevic

                        Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

                        How to Relieve Stress: 9 Quick Relaxation Techniques 15 Simple Habits to Boost Your Emotional Health 15 Important Coping Skills to Deal with Stressful Situations 15-Minute Morning Yoga Routine for Beginners Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain?

                        Trending in Physical Strength

                        1 7 Best Lower Back Stretches for Relieving Pain 2 7 Beginner Yoga Exercises for Men to Increase Mobility 3 When Is the Best Time to Work Out? (Science-Backed Answer) 4 7 Digestive Supplements for Enhanced Digestion 5 13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day

                        Read Next

                        Advertising
                        Advertising
                        Advertising

                        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                        Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                        If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                        1. Create a Daily Plan

                        Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                        2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                        Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                        3. Use a Calendar

                        Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                        I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                        Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                        4. Use an Organizer

                        An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                        These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

                        Advertising

                        5. Know Your Deadlines

                        When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                        But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                        6. Learn to Say “No”

                        Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                        Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                        7. Target to Be Early

                        When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                        For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                        Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                        8. Time Box Your Activities

                        This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                        You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

                        Advertising

                        9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                        Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                        10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                        Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                        You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                        11. Focus

                        Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                        Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                        Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                        12. Block out Distractions

                        What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                        I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                        When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

                        Advertising

                        Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                        13. Track Your Time Spent

                        When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                        You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                        14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                        You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                        Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                        15. Prioritize

                        Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                        Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                        16. Delegate

                        If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                        When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                        Advertising

                        17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                        For related work, batch them together.

                        For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                        1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                        2. coaching
                        3. workshop development
                        4. business development
                        5. administrative

                        I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                        18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                        What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                        One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                        While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                        19. Cut off When You Need To

                        The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                        Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                        20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                        Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                        More Time Management Techniques

                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                        Read Next