The proclamation of all yoga practice is that how you are on the mat, so you are in life. Students are asked to observe if they quit too easily, if they push themselves too hard, or if they remain open to new ideas. This extends seamlessly to Partner Yoga. How you are in practicing yoga with a partner, so you are in relationships.
The vision for Partner Yoga comes from the literal translation of the word yoga, which means union in Sanskrit. If yoga is union, then the perfect expression of uniting through yoga is in practicing with a partner.
It is an athletic practice that can involve impressive displays of balance, strength and flexibility . Partner Yoga can also be as simple as sitting on the mat with another person, and the relationship similarities will begin there.
Sitting back to back with a partner, the student’s attention will be drawn to evaluations such as whether or not they lean disproportionately onto their partner, if they carry their own weight, if they provide adequate support, or if they are imagining a way out of the pose. Even these less physically challenging poses provide one an opportunity to deepen their understanding of their tendencies within a relationship – and not just romantic relationships; family, work, and friendships too.
Balancing practices commonly known as “flying”, where one person lifts the other into any number of positions where only the one touches the ground, provide tremendous examinations of any trust issues that might be present. Many of these poses only work if the “flyer” relinquishes complete control to the “base”.
Both partners can gain awareness of their willingness to trust, and the ability to literally and metaphorically carry someone else’s weight. Therefore it is important to switch roles and take turns in each position. There are enough pose variations to negate any height or weight differences that might otherwise provide an excuse not to experiment.
Join me this year at the Vancouver Yoga Show where we will be kicking the conference off with our Contact Partner Yoga workshop in the garden, 4-5pm on Friday.