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Demystifying Partner Yoga

January 9th, 2018

Have you tried partner yoga? YYoga Instructor Ashley McEachern demystifies the practice for us, explains its benefits, and provides tips on how to participate.

​"Postures and flow sequences are designed to bring communication into a tangible, physical form and help you witness the dynamic of relationships.” - Psychology Today​

The hottest new trend hitting the yoga community is far less independent and far more collective than your typical yoga practice. Rather than staying glued to your yoga mat and desperately avoiding eye contact with everyone else in the room, partner yoga classes invite yogis to connect on a much deeper level, engaging in everything from steady eye contact to therapeutic touch to playful acrobatic moves with one another. That said, partner yoga does not have to mean hyper-advanced circus-like flying across the yoga studio, and can be practiced in much more subtle, hatha yoga style.

Partner yoga is celebrated internationally for connecting two people in the creation of new, dynamic and supported yoga postures that use a fellow human body to add resistance, depth and new expression to the postures. Partner yoga is an exciting new way to approach your yoga practice accompanied by your partner, friend, family member or even stranger in one of the most powerful team building exercises out there.

Benefits of partner yoga

Partner yoga allows you to learn new postures and bypass limitations in your asana practice. It also:

  • Increases confidence, patience and trust
  • Improves communication skills with your partner
  • Teaches humility, playfulness and intimacy in a safe environment
  • Deepens balance, alignment and stability
  • Allows yogis to experience delicious, soothing and relaxing assisted postures 
  • Learn new postures and bypass limitations in your asana practice

Giving and receiving assists

Partner yoga is all about trust and communication as you support each other through the practice. Don't worry if you don't get a post perfectly - the point is to keep connecting. Here are some helpful tips for how to give and receive gentle assists:

  • Start out gently and then slowly put more pressure or power behind your assists, as needed
  • Communicate with your partner about how each adjustment is working
  • Observe your partner’s body and breath for feedback

What to expect

Curious about what type of poses to expect in a partner yoga class? Here are some examples of the asanas covered in a partner-assisted yoga session:

  • Back-to-back seated meditation
  • Standing backbend with a partner
  • Downward facing dog
  • Half moon pose
  • Boat pose
  • Wheel pose
  • Child's pose
  • Forward bend
  • Wide-angle seated forward bend
  • Revolved abdomen pose
  • Corpse pose

Ready to experience partner yoga?

To learn many of these partner assisted poses and feel them for yourself, join Ashley Holly McEachern in Toronto and Chris Brandt in BC for special Valentine's Day weekend partner yoga workshops!

Register Here
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About the Author

Ashley McEachern

What can students expect from your class? Ashley teaches with a deep passion for helping others on their healing journey, whether that is physical, emotional or spiritual. Her classes include breathwork, meditation, anatomical focus, powerful hands on adjustments and a...

Learn more about Ashley