CONVERSATIONS AT THE SANCTUARY: Deepening Your Relationship Through Partner Yoga
Add a partner into your practice equation to double the health benefits and have twice the fun! Amadea Ng shares why yoga can be better together (and bring people closer)
Human beings are social creatures by nature and our desire for connection is a basic need.
While the fundamental nature of yoga is an individual practice which allows us the opportunity to stretch, reflect inward, and become more present and aware, a joint yoga practice provides its own unique benefits.
The practice of Partner Yoga involves two people assisting each other in creating yoga postures together. The shared activity multiplies the benefits of yoga, allowing both partners to give and receive concurrently.
“Partner Yoga is a great way to share time with a friend, sibling, or loved one, and increase bonding between the two of you,” shares Amadea Ng, who teaches Flow yoga at The Yoga School. “The practice allows two people to relate better to each other through assisted poses.” She shares more about how Partner Yoga can have a positive effect on relationships.
QN: WHAT IS PARTNER YOGA ALL ABOUT?
AMADEA: Partner Yoga is more than just a physical practice. It is a means of exploration, discovering new things about what your body is capable of, and moving in ways that might be completely unfamiliar to you. The practice opens you up physically and emotionally.
During Partner Yoga, we use our partner’s bodies to enhance a stretch or deepen a posture. The united movements and coordinated breathing not only create more strength and stability together, they also build trust and communication. If you’re practicing with a loved one, it’s a wonderful way to to connect with another, while experiencing more freedom in your own body!
QN: MUST PARTNER YOGA BE PRACTICED WITH SOMEONE I KNOW?
AMADEA: Partner Yoga actually has so many different facets to it so it is suitable for anyone keen to try. With your partner as your mirror, it can be a way to deepen your practice and to explore poses that might be slightly intimidating. The poses aren’t awkward or intimate. Strangers in a class can practice together, and both parties can enjoy the mutual benefits it provides. In fact, I’ve made several new friends through being paired up with strangers in classes to do partner poses!
QN: DO I STILL NEED A SOLO PRACTICE IF I ALREADY HAVE A PARTNER YOGA PRACTICE?
AMADEA: Time on the mat is often considered solo time for reflection and inner peace. Partner Yoga, however, is beneficial in many other ways, and requires attention to other areas such as good communication and trust, awareness of another, and teamwork.
I think it’s still really important to have a personal practice, but it’s nice to have someone spurring you on. Going to yoga alone might feel intimidating for some, so Partner Yoga could be as simple as having a yoga buddy. But it can also be about having someone to keep you safe while you’re exploring different poses, especially in inversions. In addition to the benefits of a solo practice, Partner Yoga provides a different experience because of the connection and balance brought into the equation when you practice with a partner.
QN: HOW DOES THE PRACTICE OF PARTNER YOGA DEEPEN BONDING?
AMADEA: One of the benefits of Partner Yoga is having someone else to spot you and assist you, for instance, when you want to go into a deeper stretch or if you’re out of alignment. The poses in Partner Yoga require both parties to rely and lean on each other throughout (both literally and metaphorically), while constantly communicating verbally – and non-verbally through physical touch. The process builds trust as it requires vulnerability and support.
Studies show that matching your partner’s moves (this is known as mimicry), can also help to boost bonding and empathy. The push and pull of the flowing postures and the reliance on your partner to help stay balanced and strong, creates a deep connection.
QN: WHAT ARE SOME SIMPLE PARTNER YOGA POSES THAT WE CAN DO AT HOME AS A COMPLEMENTARY DAILY PRACTICE?
AMADEA: Partner Yoga creates more authenticity and honesty between two people, and can be a very restorative daily practice. Child’s pose with a partner is a great option for winding down – your partner can give you a gentle massage to press your hips down, while the lengthening of your spine takes relaxation to whole new level. I personally also find it really nice to deepen into seated forward folds or Samakonasana (Centre Splits) with a partner as well. The shared connection naturally feels deeper because we are communicating directly through our touch and presence.
ABOUT AMADEA NG:
Amadea’s love for fluidity and movement as a dancer led her to yoga five years ago. Since falling deeper in love with her practice, the mat has been her playground, sacred space and hiding place all at once. Amadea’s yoga practice has been the constant that has rooted her and brought her comfort through multiple transitions, difficult moments and injuries. Through her practice, she’s also found a love-filled community that inspires and lifts her up every single day. In 2016, Amadea followed her heart to Bali to pursue a YTT with Tara Judelle in Bali. She describes the experience as incredibly beautiful, transformative, and revealing. Today, she hopes to be able to share and facilitate a moving meditation that is intuitive to your being, one that cultivates self love and brings you home to bliss.
This February 15th, celebrate love with your other half at a special 2-hour Partner Yoga Workshop by Amadea Ng. The practice will begin with a dynamic heart opening flow on your mat, followed by a partner inversion workshop that will introduce you to the basics of going upside down with the help of a partner. Find out more and reserve your mat here.