We all know the benefits of yoga, increased flexibility, better core, keeping your joints moving well, stress relief and the list could go on! But have you thought about couples yoga? Imagine all those benefits plus you get to build a better relationship, increase intimacy and trust and spend time together doing something that you both benefit from.
It can be daunting (especially if you’re new to yoga altogether) but we’ll walk you through partner yoga poses to get you started on your couples yoga journey!
Don’t think that you have to be super flexible or strong to be able to do couples yoga, there are so many poses to get you started and work your way up to the more challenging poses.
As always, make sure you’re working with your body and not forcing any pose. If it’s too challenging, get to where you can and then try another partner yoga pose and revisit it later. If you experience any pain, talk to your health professional or local yoga teacher.
Couples Yoga Equipement
Whilst you don’t need much to get started with yoga, there are a few items that you will need and some that will make your couple’s yoga poses easier.
You will definitely need a yoga mat. There are so many options out there but we recommend that you find a good quality and eco-friendly yoga mat. We love cork yoga mats and mats made from recycled materials.
The other thing that will make yoga more enjoyable is having comfortable clothing that isn’t restrictive.
Let’s dive into partner yoga poses
The couples yoga poses that we are about to go through is a great sequence to get you started. You could use this sequence as your basic partner yoga sequence and then add more advanced poses as you go on.
Seated twists are great for spinal mobility, digestion and may help with low back pain.
To do a couples seated twist, sit cross-legged with your backs together. Take a breath in and as you exhale, twist through the spine and use your left hand to reach towards your partner’s right knee. If you can’t reach their knee, just go to where you can reach comfortably. Hold this pose for 10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
The cat pose on all fours is a classic yoga pose. It’s a great way to get warmed up for your yoga sequence. The benefits of the cat pose are increased spinal mobility, opening the chest, strengthening the core and is relaxing pose.
The cat pose can be done as a couples yoga pose when done sitting. Sit cross-legged, facing your partner. Reach your arms out the front and hold onto your partner’s arms above the elbow. Whilst holding their arms, you both curl your upper back and lean outwards. Curl your chin in towards your chest. Hold this pose for 10 deep breaths. Slowly come out of the pose and return to the upright seated position.
Seated Forward Fold
The Seated Forward Fold is another great pose to get you warmed up. This pose is great for increasing hamstring flexibility, lower spine mobility, hip mobility and it’s a very relaxing partner yoga pose (if you relax into it, don’t fight it!).
From the seated cat, shuffle backwards and place your legs out front with the soles of your feet touching your partners. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bend from the hips, fold forward. Depending on your flexibility, you can either hold hands or place your hands where you can comfortably reach them. That may be on your thighs, knees, ankles or feet. Take 10 deep breaths in this position. Each time you exhale, allow your body to go deeper into the pose, making sure you keep your body relaxed.
To come out of the pose slowly walk your hand up your legs and back to the seated position.
The boat pose is a fantastic yoga pose for increasing core and lower back strength and also helps with balance.
To do the boat pose with a partner, sit facing each other with your legs in front of you but your knees bent. Place the soles of your feet against your partners and then slowly take them towards the ceiling and straighten your legs. Getting into this pose may take some trial and error. You may need to move closer or further from your partner, depending on the flexibility of each person. Grip your partner’s arm and hold this pose for 5 deep breaths. This is slightly more challenging than the other poses so make sure you work with your partner to communicate your needs.
To come out of the boat pose, bring the feet back down together until you reach the floor and let go of your grip.
The hero pose is a gentle pose that helps with digestion, knee mobility and is a good pose for meditation.
For a couples hero pose, sit on your legs with your knees touching your partners. Place your hands on your partner’s thighs gently. In this pose, you can make eye contact and take deep breaths together.
For a more advanced hero pose, you could come into the reclined hero pose. To do this stay seated on your legs and lower your back to the ground. This is an intense pose and is good for quad and knee flexibility. Stay there for 3-5 deep breaths and then slowly come out of the pose.
Child and Fish Pose
This partner yoga pose uses two yoga poses together. When performing this pose, you’ll need to have both partners perform both yoga poses.
Firstly one partner comes into childs pose. To do this, sit on your legs and fold forward with your arms stretched out in front of your body. Childs pose is a great pose to relax into and take a break. It gently stretches the lower and mid backs and calms the mind. You should feel quite relaxed in childs pose.
To come into fish pose, the other partner gently sits on the hips of the partner in childs pose, facing away from them. Then gently lower the upper body over the back of the partner in childs pose. Then they can extend the legs out. The fish pose is a great chest opener (great if you sit at the desk all day!), is said to help with thyroid function and stretches the abdominal organs.
To come out of the pose, the partner in fish pose slowly comes up, being careful if there’s any dizziness. Then the partner in childs pose slowly comes up to a seated position.
Like always in partner yoga, both partners need to communicate with each other. Let your partner know if you’re uncomfortable or if you need to stop and come out of the pose.
If you were able to perform the Child and Fish Pose, then you might like to give the Lifted Plank Pose a try.
Planks are great for core strength, shoulder strength and for balance. To do a lifted plank start with one partner lying on their back. Then have the other partner grip around your ankles. You will need to take your partner’s ankles and straighten your arms so that your arms are at 90 degrees and your partner is parallel with you. The partner on top will have to engage their core and try and keep their body in a straight line.
To come out of the lifted plank, lower your partner’s legs down and they will release your ankles.
Make sure both partners perform both positions.
The Shoulder Stretch does exactly what it says, it stretches your shoulders. Doing yoga our shoulders can work really hard for us! This is a great stretch for them. It’s also a fantastic balance pose. If you feel like your balance isn’t up for it, keep both feet to the ground.
To come into the pose, stand facing your partner. Bend forward from the hips and grip your partner’s shoulders. You can stay in this position or challenge your balance by lifting one leg straight out the back. The leg should be in line with your body. Do 5 deep breaths and then change legs.
To come out of the pose, lower the leg with control and release your grip on your partner’s shoulders. You can either fold forward more and then roll your spine up gently or place your hands on your legs and slowly walk them up.
The tree pose is one of the most well-known balance poses. Not only does it help you with your balance but it’s also great to help with improving your concentration and strength.
To come into the tree pose with your partner, stand side by side facing the same direction. Place the arm on the inside above your head with your palm touching your partners. The other hand can come into prayer position in the centre. When you feel steady slowly place the sole of your outside leg on your thigh or lower leg, making sure to avoid the actual knee. If you don’t have great balance then you can rest the heel on the ankle and keep your toes to the ground.
To come out of the tree pose, take the foot back to the ground with control and bring the arms down.
The Warrior Poses are classic yoga poses that promote strength in the legs, hips and back. They also challenge your balance and concentration.
The Reverse Warrior is a slight backbend and opens the chest, whilst helping your balance. When doing reverse warrior in partner yoga, start in the Warrior Two stance, the front knee is bent with the knee over the ankle and the back leg is out straight with the foot at 90 degrees. Have the back foot against your partners, touching on the outside edge of the foot. Breathe in and as you exhale arch back with your arm moving backwards until you join hands with your partner’s. Stay here for 5 deep breaths and then change sides. You will feel your legs work!
To come out of the pose, bring the body back to neutral and walk the feet together.
There are many variations for partner triangle yoga poses. We are going to do the twisted triangle pose because it’s always great to get another spinal twist in!
The benefits of the twisted triangle pose are spinal mobility, hip mobility, opening the chest, stimulating the abdominal organs and stretching the shoulders.
To come into the twisted triangle pose, stand back to back with your partner in a wide leg stance. Bring your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground. Breathe in and as you breathe out, bend from the hips and twist your body to the right. Bring your left hand to your right leg or foot, depending on your flexibility. Hold the breath for a count of 10 and come up and breathe in. Repeat on the other side and then repeat 3 times.
Once you have finished your rounds, heel-toe the feet back to a normal standing position.
It’s always recommended to finish a yoga sequence with Savasana, or the final resting pose. To get into Savasana, lay on your back with your legs open about 30cm and your arms out at a 45-degree angle, palms always face up.
When doing partner yoga poses, you can connect with your partner by having your hands and/or feet gently touching.
Lay in Savasana, without moving, for at least 5 minutes. You can concentrate on your breathing or have a guided meditation going.
Partner Yoga Poses for Beginners
This partner yoga sequence will give you a great basis to start your couple’s yoga journey. As you develop you might like to attempt some of the more advanced partner yoga poses. Just remember to start within your limits, there’s no competition in yoga and you need to work at your own pace. This will ensure that you enjoy it and that you avoid injuries. Enjoy couple yoga!