Partner yoga, also known to the masses as acro yoga, is pretty darn impressive. If you’ve seen the crazy tricks people get up to on Instagram and yoga news outlets, you might think that partner yoga is out of reach for the average yogi. But that’s not the case!
Doing yoga with a partner can be a rewarding and challenging endeavor, and one that helps you grow in all the right ways as a yoga practitioner. First of all, you’ll have no choice but to deepen your connection with your partner. The endorphins that present themselves during exercise kind of guarantee it. You’ll also be forced to pay attention to your partner’s movements, breath, balance and stability, which has the effect of clearing your mind and developing focus.
So how can you get started? Here are a few moves you can try at home, provided you have at least a semi-decent understanding of yoga.
Stand back-to-back, facing opposite directions. Your feet should nearly touch as well. In fact, your heels should be no more than 2-3 inches from each other.
Clasp hands and simultaneously allow your hips and torso to fall forward. Let your back arch as you go forward, but keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. This back-bending pose is a heart opener—and you’ll literally form the shape of your heart with your partner as you do it.
Double Standing Forward Fold
In this pose, you’ll again start by standing back-to-back. This time, you’ll want to allow at least 6 inches between your and your partner’s heels. You may even need to scoot further away from each other if you’re slightly less flexible. Fold forward at the hips so that you achieve a forward bend position.
Next, grab onto your partner’s shoulders, and vice versa. This will be a pretty intense stretch, so it’s fantastic for those who are ready to take their flexibility to the next level. If you can’t reach each other’s shoulders, feel free to grab elbows or wrists … whatever works best for your level of comfort!
This basic partner yoga position takes the seated forward fold to the next level. In fact, you may have done this one in gym class when you were a kid!
Sit on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you, and have your partner do the same. The bottom of your feet should be touching the bottom of your partners’. Reach forward and grab your partner’s hands, elbows or shoulders, depending on your level of flexibility. Use your partner’s weight to pull yourself forward, keeping your back straight and folding from the hips.
Forward Bend Lounge
The most advanced of the poses on our list, this pose is primarily for people who are quite flexible and already have some familiarity with yoga.
One partner will sit on the floor, keeping his or her legs straight out in front, just like in a basic forward fold. The other partner will kneel right next to the partner’s back Partner 2’s legs will be slightly apart so that his or her shins can straddle Partner 1’s hips. As Partner 1 relaxes into the forward fold, Partner 2 will place his or her weight on Partner 1’s back. According to Yogacurious, this is one of the most relaxing and deeply connective stretches of partner yoga.