Recently, five students and myself got together to do a Partner Yoga photoshoot. I must admit that I always enjoy doing photoshoots, but this one was by far the most fun I have ever had at one! The shoot took more than twice as long as any of us imagined it would, making for a rigorous six and a half hours. But despite the work, the laughter and play never stopped.
When most people hear the term “Partner Yoga”, their minds automatically gravitate towards a romantically involved couple practicing intertwined Yoga postures. But this is not the only form of Partner Yoga there is. Partner, simply means “with another” so romantic involvement is not at all necessary. Also, Partner does not only mean “with one other”. Some Partner Yoga poses can involve whole groups of people.
Partner Yoga is not a new practice. It is in fact a natural philosophical movement within a personal Yoga Sadhana or Practice. As we practice Yoga and move towards a greater understanding of the Self, we begin to realize that we are in fact not separate from others. This understanding is very much first and foremost in Partner Yoga.
In a Partner Yoga practice, two or more people physically interact within their poses. One Partner will at times act to support and or deepen the other partner in his/her pose. At other times, the first partner will him/herself be supported. Overtime skills of verbal and non-verbal communication will increase considerably. Empathy for others, trust, and an openness to vulnerability increase. Self-consciousness and self-centredness decrease.
Within the practice of Partner Yoga, the sense of Prana or energy increases exponentially as all partners involved share and build on the collective energy flowing through the circuit of poses. This also increases the sense of connectedness on a very deep level that is then carried out into the everyday stage of life.
Partner Yoga encourages creativity. Poses can be interacted in a variety of ways. Like Personal (one person) Yoga, Partner yoga is easily adapted to a variety of flexibility levels, physical body shapes and sizes, and experience. Partner Yoga can be a separate practice in itself, or it can be interspersed within a regular group class. If Partner Yoga poses are added into a regular class and you are uncomfortable engaging in it at that time, feel free to let the teacher know. The teacher can then find either another partner for your intended class partner, or the teacher can partner with that student him/herself.
That being said however, if you feel discomfort in practicing with another, take a look at where those feelings of discomfort stem from. Use your emotion as a way to get to know yourself better and to release thoughts and beliefs that hold you back from experiencing your true nature:
Love and interconnectedness. Then work towards getting into the interactive play of Yoga!
For a chance to practice this playful form of Yoga, join us with someone you would like
to connect with for the “BE Together: A Partner Yoga Practice” workshop at the Red Door Yoga
Studio on February 14th!
The Yogic Way®
Kavita Maharaj is the owner of Red Door Yoga® and the director of The Red Door Yoga School® in Lantzville. She can be reached at 250-390-9367 or through www.reddooryoga.ca for questions.