This Valentine's Day, forget the chocolate and flowers. Spend some time together connecting with your favorite person by doing some partner yoga. Move through this eight-posture sequence, and not only will you experience a deep stretch in your muscles, but you'll deepen the connection with your loved one as well.
I am so fired up, not to mention extremely sore, from my first AcroYoga workshop. This style of partner yoga takes traditional asana to a gymnastic level combining trust, strength, flexibility, and a lot of courage. Regardless of your yoga background, nothing compares to the feeling of taking flight for the first time.
The workshop, taught by Vermont's first certified AcroYoga teacher, was based on the partner yoga style created by Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein. AcroYoga blends Contact Yoga (therapeutic flying), acrobatics, and Thai massage. Having previous experience with partner yoga, I honestly thought this workshop would be pretty easy; maybe I'd learn a new trick or two. Wow, was I wrong. The class moved right into practicing headstands on our partner's thighs while they held Half Wheel. We were all a little leery about placing our heads in between a stranger's legs and lifting into headstand, but surprisingly, it was tremendously easier than I thought, and much, much more fun.
To find out what else you can expect from an AcroYoga workshop, keep reading.
If you're looking to increase flexibility in your neck and spine, half wheel is the pose to do. It also tones your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, so it's a great pose to include in your stretching routine. To make it slightly more challenging and offer support to a friend doing a modified shoulderstand, do this pose called double bridge.
To see a picture of how to get into this pose, read more
Tight hamstrings and lower backs are common complaints among runners, office workers, and people who are on their feet all day. Doing forward bends regularly can help tremendously, but doing them on your own just isn't as effective as when you can get some help. I've already showed you how to do Seated Butterfly Lunge and Seated Straddle Lounge, so here's another variation to try. The person on the bottom gets an amazing stretch for the backs of their legs, and the person on top feels an incredible lengthening in their spine.
So grab a friend and read more
When I need a good hamstring stretch, Seated Straddle is one of my faves. To feel an even deeper stretch in the backs of my legs, I like to do this pose with a friend as in Seated Straddle Lounge. If you liked that one, here's another variation to try. This partner yoga pose, Twisting Seated Straddle, is also an incredible spinal twist.
To learn how to do this pose read more
Backbends top my list of favorite yoga poses. It feels great to arch my spine and stretch through my abs and chest. Some backbends are more challenging than others though, like Scorpion. Since it involves balancing on your forearms as well as bending your back, you might need a little help getting into it. You can do Scorpion on a ball or in front of a couch, but if you have a friend nearby, give this partner pose a try.
To see a video showing how to get into this, read more
I am always up for a good hamstring stretch and have found this series of partner poses not only fun but also effective in stretching my legs and working my abs. It's similar to the Double Standing Straddle, but you're lying on your back with gravity helping you deepen your stretch. Not only will you feel an intense stretch in your hips and the backs of your legs, but you'll also work your abs at the same time. Check out this video from Expert Village to see how the series of moves are strung together.
For a detailed description of this partner pose read more
If you have sore shoulders from typing, sitting, driving, or just general stress, a heart-opening pose is just what you need. So grab a friend and give this a try. While you stretch your chest, shoulders, and upper back, she'll get a nice ab workout. Check out the video from Expert Village to see how to do it.
For detailed instructions on this partner yoga pose, read more
If you're like me, a good hamstring stretch is always needed. Stretching on your own is great, but if you do it with a friend, you'll both benefit from deeper, more intense stretches. Here are some of my favorites that target the backs of your legs. If you want descriptions on how to do the pose, then click on the orange-colored link.