Valentine’s Day is a reminder to be thankful for our life partners, close friends, and family members. Yes, the holiday can be celebrated with chocolates and a fancy dinner, but gratitude and acknowledgment are at its core. It’s a chance to put stress, work, and expectation on the back burner and simply be in full alignment with a loved one. To help, take a look at these five partner yoga poses from Lovers’ Yoga by Darrin Zeer, a beautiful little book with more than 50 partner poses and stretches for beginner and advanced yogi couples. Integrate one or all of the following poses into your Valentine’s Day celebration to melt away tension and evoke those beautiful fuzzy feelings of peace and connection.
1. Lean on Me
Sit back to back with legs crossed or outstretched, whichever is more comfortable. Allow your backs to rest against each other, letting the back of your heads touch, if comfortable.
Variation to explore: If you have the range, reach back and interlock arms. One partner bends forward and the other bends backward, and keeping your backs pressed together you make wide circles in one direction (halfway through the circle whoever was forward-bending at the start will now be backbending and vice versa). Circle in one direction for about six breaths, then in the opposite direction for another six breaths. Return to center, coming to stillness, and enjoy five more breaths of relaxation and trust.
2. Buddy Bends
Partner 1: Come into child’s pose and bring your hands into prayer above your head, elbows resting on the floor in front of you, or extend your arms straight out in front of you. Relax into the pose and get comfortable. Partner 2: Sit with your knees bent and bum on the floor. When you’re ready, push with your feet to align your sacrum with your partner’s. Slowly begin to arch over your partner’s back while straightening your legs. Your heels are an anchor point to this stretch. Reach your arms over your head, coming into a full-body stretch. For added support, rest your forearms on your partner’s fingertips, or have your partner hold your hands or wrists. Make sure to communicate and check in with your partner—this can be an intense pose for both of you! Rest for five deep breaths. To come out of the pose, partner 1 will slowly begin to rise up out of child’s pose, releasing partner 2’s wrists/hands and allowing them to gently slide back down to sit on the floor. Then switch roles.
3. Flyin’ High
Sit face to face (look at that beauty!) with knees bent and hands/fingertips resting on the floor beside you to start. Lift your feet and press the balls of your feet into your partner’s. Grasp each other’s hands outside your legs and slowly raise and begin to straighten your legs together. If you’re feeling confident, let go of each other’s hands and bring your own palms together, arms outstretched from your heart. Smile! Balancing is the fun part of this pose.
4. Tree Together
Stand alongside your partner. Each of you places the sole of your foot against your opposite upper thigh. If this is a challenge, place your foot on your calf or your heel on your ankle, resting the ball of your foot on the floor. Wrap your inside arms around each other’s waist and hold tight for balance and support (fighting the urge to tickle each other). Stand tall, relax your shoulders, and imagine your head rising toward the sky. Take five deep breaths with your partner and settle into the pose. When you’re ready, switch sides.
5. Happy Hug
Stand facing each other with toes touching and then hug! Relax into your partner’s embrace, finding that cozy niche. Take five deep breaths in unison and imagine the stress of your day falling away.
Did you have a great experience? Check out Lovers’ Yoga to learn how to further integrate partner stretching into your relationship!