Get a good stretching, strengthening and bonding session by doing these partner yoga poses with your friend or lover.
Whether the last time you did yoga was never or last week, these partner yoga poses will inspire you to hop on the mat. They’re mostly beginner-friendly and super fun. You get to deepen the stretch, and the connection with your partner. And did we mention that they’re Insta-worthy, too?
Here, Estelle demonstrates the partner yoga poses with instructor Denise Keller.
1. Partner boat
Stretches hamstrings and strengthens core
Sit opposite each other and hold hands outside your legs. Raise both your legs and place the soles of your feet together. Find your balance and try straightening your legs. Depending on your flexibility, you may need to move closer or farther away from each other. If you can’t straighten your legs, bend your knees so your shins are parallel to the ground (half-boat pose). Hold for five deep breaths or more.
2. Partner warrior 1
Strengthens arms, shoulders, back, legs and ankles; opens hips, chest and lungs. Also improves focus, balance and stability
Stand about two arm’s length opposite your partner and get into warrior 1 pose on the same side: Lunge forward with your left foot, bending the left knee at 90 degrees. Straighten the right leg behind you, with toes pointing 45 degrees forward. Adjust your position so your left thigh overlaps your partner’s. Extend arms overhead, palms together. Make sure your core is activated and body weight is evenly distributed on both legs. Hold for five deep breaths or more. Switch sides.
3. Partner ragdoll
Stretches hamstrings, calves and hips; strengthens thighs and knees
Stand back to back with the backs of your heels touching or close together. Keep both your legs straightened and – one person at a time – fold forward from the hips. Grab each other’s arms to stabilise. Hold for five deep breaths or more.
4. Back-to-back chair
Strengthens thighs, butt and hips
Stand back to back and interlock elbows. Lean on each other’s back as you walk feet forward and lower your body towards ground in a squat. Knees should be bent at 90 degrees and directly above ankles. Hold for five deep breaths or more.
5. Partner seated forward fold
Stretches back, shoulders, hamstrings and inner thighs
Sit opposite your partner with legs straightened and wide apart. Place the soles of your feet together and grab each other’s forearms. Partner A, fold forward while Partner B pulls you. Stop when you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Hold for five deep breaths or more. Switch positions.
6. Backbend-child’s pose
Stretches back and hip flexors; opens chest and shoulders
Sit back to back in the child’s pose. Partner A, lean backwards and rest against partner B, from head to hips. Straighten your legs in front of you. Breathe in and out together for three to five minutes. Switch positions.
7. Partner tree
Strengthens core, thighs, ankles and spine; stretches groin and inner thighs. Also improves balance
*Try this only if one of you is comfortable doing an unsupported handstand.
Stand shoulder to shoulder, facing opposite directions. Partner A, align left foot with partner B’s right palm as she gets into handstand. Partner A, support her ankle with left hand, shift your weight to the left and press your right foot firmly into your left inner thigh. Hold for as long as possible. Switch sides.