If you're looking for a fun and relaxing way to connect with your partner this Valentine's Day, couples yoga is the perfect activity! Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility and strength, while also reducing stress. It can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. So grab your partner (or a good friend!) and get ready to enjoy some quality time together.
1. Centering (Sukhasana)
Sukhasana, or "easy pose," is a great starting point for any practice. It helps to open up the hips and improve flexibility, and it also helps you feel grounded and centered. To perform this two-person yoga pose, sit cross-legged on the floor facing your partner with your spine straight and your eyes closed. Place your hands on one another's knees and take a moment to breathe while you look into each other's eyes.
2. Seated Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
The Seated Cat-Cow Pose is another great pose to open up the hips. It also helps to stretch and lengthen the spine. To perform this pose, sit cross-legged on the floor facing your partner with your spine straight and your eyes closed. Reach forward and gently hold onto your partner's forearms. Keep your shoulders back and down, pulling with equal resistance, and as you inhale, arch your back and look up at the ceiling. As you exhale, tuck your chin and round out your back, like a cat. Continue to move between these two poses as you breathe in and out.
3. Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matseyndrasana)
The Seated Spinal Twist is another effective pose for lubricating the spine. It also helps to stretch and lengthen the sides of the body. To perform this pose, sit cross-legged on the floor facing your partner. Cross your arms and grab a hold of each other's hands. Begin twisting your body from the base of your spine in the opposite direction of your partner. Continue to breathe as you come back to the center and twist in the other direction.
4. Back-to-Back Dialogue
After you finish your beginning movements and stretching, sit back-to-back with your partner to discuss how you are feeling, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Cross your legs, take a few deep breaths, and try to focus on feeling the breathing patterns of your partner. When you sit closely, you may notice that your breathing becomes in sync with one another.
5. Back-to-Back Backbend or Forward Fold (Anuvittasana/Tttanasana)
Now it's time to move on to some more strenuous poses. For this next pose, you and your partner will need a little bit of space. Back-to-Back Backbend is a great way to open up the chest and improve flexibility in the spine. Forward Fold stretches out the hamstrings and lower back. Begin by staying seated, back to back. As one partner folds forward to stretch their hamstrings, the other will place their feet firmly on the floor and press backward into a gentle backend. Slowly come back to the center and switch roles.
6. Back-to-Back Shoulder Stretch
The Back-to-Back Shoulder Stretch is another great way to open up the chest and improve flexibility in the spine. Start by standing back-to-back with your partner. Extend your arms out laterally, interlace your hands with one another, and keep your arms extended while one partner pulls, creating a stretch across the other's chest and shoulders. Breathe deeply before slowly coming back to the center position and stretching the other partner.
7. Back-to-Back Chair (Utkatasana)
Back-to-Back Chair pose improves balance, increases strength, and stretches the thighs. Start by standing back-to-back with your partner. Bend your knees and squat down as if you are sitting in a chair, making sure that your spine stays straight. Push your back firmly into your partner's for help with balance and stabilization. After a few seconds in the seated position, use the resistance from your partner to come back to a standing position.
8. Seated Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)
The Seated Bound Angle Pose is one of the best ways to open up the hips and groin. Sit down facing your partner. One person will touch the soles of their feet together, while the other extends their legs, feet touching the other's shins. Gently hold onto each other's forearms while the partner with legs extended will pull to help the other deepen their stretch. Breathing is especially important during this movement. After a few seconds, switch positions.
9. Lateral Side Bend (Urdhva Hastasana Ardha Chandrasana)
The Lateral Side Bend stretch helps to create fuller, deeper breathing. Sit facing your partner with your feet together. Reach for your partner's same-side hand; right hand to right hand or left hand to left hand, holding onto each other's forearms. Breathe deeply and on your exhale, bend sideways with your free arm stretching overhead. After a deep stretch, switch to the other arm and repeat.
10. Flying Warrior (Visvamitrasana)
This position is the perfect finale to your partner yoga poses. Flying Warrior helps develop a sense of stability, freedom, and playfulness between you and your lover or friend. One partner will lay on their back with their legs lifted toward the sky. The other will stand, clasping hands and leaning against the base partner's feet. The base partner will then lift the "flyer" so that they are balancing in the air and holding tightly to the other's hands. Do your best to stay stable, holding both arms and legs strong and straight.
Once you've finished your practice, lie back and rest in savasana for a few minutes. Rather than jump back into your busy schedule, perhaps take another 20 to 30 minutes to enjoy a cup of tea or a smoothie with your partner and talk about how you feel after your practice compared to before you started.
This is a creative way to get closer to your partner on Valentine's Day, but it's also a great way to stay connected on a regular basis throughout the year!
Have you tried couples yoga with your special someone? How did it change your relationship? Let us know in the comments below!
This article was written by yoga teacher and PIXIBU founder Jody Braverman, NASM-CPT, RYT200. Want more great articles just like this one? Sign up for our newsletter and get them delivered straight to your inbox!
Woman's leggings in cover image: POP High-Rise