Six fun partner exercises to help you let go and embrace trust

Practicing yoga with a partner is a powerful exercise in learning to let go and embrace trust. Whether you recruit a best friend, a significant other, a family member, or a total stranger, you and your partner will undoubtedly become closer by the close of your session. Start with this simple sequence of fun partner exercises to begin your exploration of trust for two.

Back to back Breathing

Start with sukhasana (easy pose), facing the back of your partner. Bring a blanket, block, or bolster under you if your knees are high when you reach a cross-legged position. Your shins should be crossed with your ankles under your knees. Rest your palms down on your knees. Start to feel the breath of your partner through your back. Together, deepen your collective breathing by matching your breath with your partner’s. Take five slow, steady breaths together.

Balasana Massage

Begin by having your partner sit in a balasana or child’s pose. The knees should be touching, and the chest should be on top of the thighs. Sit directly behind the partner’s legs with the soles of their feet on the ground and bent knees. Slowly roll your spine, one vertebra at a time, down onto the back of your partner. Once your backs have aligned, ask your partner if they feel comfortable with the weight of your body. Bring your arms up and bend your elbows so that your hands are positioned between the outer shoulder and neck of your partner. Start massaging your partner by pressing your fingertips and palms into the muscles of their upper back. If you’re ready to get out of the position, slide down the partner’s spine until your seat reaches the floor. Then press your hands into the earth and roll up. Your partner can roll up and sit by extending their arms. Repeat the exercise by switching positions with your partner.

Back-to-back Shoulder Opener

Stand back-to-back in Tadasana (mountain position) with your partner, your feet hip-width apart, and your arms parallel to your body. Next, wrap your hands around the wrists of your partner. Once you have both secured your grip, begin to lean your chests forward. Keep your chin away from your chest, broaden your collarbones, and hug your shoulders. Slowly bring yourself and your partner back to standing after a 3-breath pause. Hold your partner’s wrists for three breaths, then release the grip.

Back-to-Back Utkatasana

Join arms with your partner from back-to-back Tadasana by hooking the elbows. Your backs should be pressed firmly against each other. Continue to maintain this connection while you both walk outwards and bend your knees. Continue to step forward until both your knees are bent at a 90. To protect your knees, do not go lower than 90 degrees. Keep this position for three breaths, then straighten your legs and press into each other to release.

Front-to-Front Backbend

Standing in tadasana, face your partner and allow about a forearm distance between your two frontal hip points. Your partner should place their hands on the inner elbow of yours. Your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet. You and your partner both need to anchor your tailbones as you begin to lift your chest and lengthen your spine. Continue to engage your core while you extend your arms slowly and lean back. You can raise your gaze and tilt your chin upwards if it does not cause neck compression. After three breaths, both of you bend your elbows at the same time and bring your gaze to the center. Take three deep breaths in tadasana before switching roles.

Seated Hands To Heart

Come back to sukhasana and face each other. Place your right hand on the left knee of your partner and your left hand at their heart. Tell your partner to follow suit. Close your eyes, and then feel your partner’s breath. Together, deepen your collective breathing by matching your breath with your partner’s. This pattern requires ten slow, steady breaths. Slowly blink your eyes open and thank each other for sharing this practice.

This practice will help you and your partner learn to trust each other and yourself while letting go of expectations and inhibitions.

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