All About Yoga
Yoga was coined from the pre-Indo-European word ‘yeug’ which means ‘union’ or ‘to join’. The practice of yoga dates back 5,000 years ago to the Indos-Sarasvati civilization in India. The first principle of yoga (known as Yoga Sutra) was recorded by a Hindu teacher named Patangali. Other forms of yoga were developed ever since then, each one focusing on a different personal development. But the most popular style used today remains to be the Hatha yoga which came to the west in the 1920s all thanks to T. Krishnamacharya, The Father of Modern Yoga.
Yoga practitioners had been growing in number. In the U.S. alone there are around 15 million people and counting. What could have contributed to this? Aside from the yoga instructions being offered in 75% of the U.S. health clubs and businesses offering yoga in the workplace, people had generally discovered the healing wonders of yoga.
“Yoga is a form of exercise, but it’s more than that,” says Pamela Jeter, a yoga researcher at John Hopkins University. “Steady breathing is so important, and it also affects your nervous system in beneficial ways that go beyond burning calories or making muscles stronger. Simply learning to plant your feet firmly as you do a yoga pose strengthens the connections that keep you coordinated and flexible.”
“I recommend yoga for patients to maintain core strength, to provide postural awareness and strengthening, and for flexibility,” Jenni Freie, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Orthopedic Certified Specialist at OrthoCarolina commended. “Yoga emphasizes proper posture and spinal alignment, which is important for injury prevention.”
“These results indicate that yoga is potentially very useful and, in my view, worth pursuing as a risk improvement practice,” Myriam Hunink senior professor at Erasmus University Medical Center and Harvard School of Public Health, stated after the experiment about yoga’s positive impact.
Aside from these statements from experts, UNESCO had given its acknowledgment on how important yoga is. On December 1, 2016, UNESCO listed yoga as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Yoga for 2
Yoga is to yoke or unite in Sanskrit. It is the unity of the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga can also be a means to unite two people to build stronger communication, to nurture trust, and intimacy. Working with a partner can help you cross your own self-limiting ideas of things that you can or can’t do.
Postures and the sequence of it bond the two people doing it. How is that possible? How does it work? Here is a list of benefits that one can reap when doing partner yoga.
1. Helps develop communication and trust between partners
In order to achieve a flawless pose, both individuals need to communicate. Verbal and non-verbal cues are often used for a synchronized yoga practice. In doing each pose, you need to rely on your partner and trust that they will do their part and in case you fall they’ll catch you. At the end of the day, you’ll understand, trust, and communicate better with your partner than when you first started.
2. Bringing people closer
Partner yoga isn’t easy. It needs a certain level of connection between the two people practicing the poses. There is going to be emotional and physical challenges but once you both overcome these it can foster a deep connection and closeness in a fun and unique way.
3. Improves posture and accelerates stretching
Doing the poses with a partner is like looking into the mirror. You can correct your poses with them helping you with proper alignment, concentration, and balance. It’s like having a personal yoga teacher. Having a partner also helps deepen the impact of yoga without feeling pain. A partner’s weight is often used to increase the pressure of the other partner.
4. Gaining a sense of balance
Partner yoga is similar to a give and take situation. Each one is fully engaged in their own experience at the same time they have a role in supporting the other person. It creates a perfect sense of balance, a vice versa of giving support and trust.
Partner Yoga Poses
Doing yoga is not only a time for self-reflection or a ‘me time’. The idea of having someone to do yoga with could be weird and intimidating. Let us not get ahead of ourselves though. Try it for yourselves and see that it’s worth it.
“Practicing with one other person on your mat is a fantastic way to expand into yoga beyond your individual practice,” said Chris Brandt of Contact Yoga.
Terms to Remember:
The base is the person on the bottom and is in charge of supporting their partner. It is not necessary that the base weigh more than the flyer, as long as the base have the strength necessary to support their partner everything’s good.
The flyer is the person on top doing most of the asanas (yoga poses). The flyer should be fairly capable to make the poses easier and safer.
Before trying aerial poses, empty your bladder and don’t eat an hour before starting. In these yoga poses, there will be a lot of pushing and it will give you a good massage on places near or on your bladder as well as your stomach.
1. Partner breathing
A gentle start that helps establishes a connection with your partner. As you connect with your breath, you open each other’s heart.
How to do it:
- Start in a comfortable seated position, legs crossed at the ankles, with backs resting against each other.
- Place hands on knees or thighs and establish a connection with your partner. Notice your breathing and the way the back of your rib cages feels against each other as it rises and fall.
- Then begin breathing alternately with your partner. As you inhale, your partner exhales; as you exhale, your partner inhales. Continue doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Partner twist
This twist assists the detoxifying process of the body and helps cleanse the toxins. It also helps you feel rejuvenated after the tequila shot you had last night.
How to do it:
- Begin in a seated with your legs crossed and backs resting against each other. Rest your hands on your knees.
- Inhale and reach arms over your head. Reaching up lengthens your spine.
- Exhale and twist to the right. Bring your right hand to the inside of your partner’s left knee; left hand on the outside of your right knee. You and your partner mirror each other’s movement.
- Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Exhale, untwist and repeat on the opposite side for balance.
3. Doubletree pose
The key to this pose is supporting each other. It is important for both to root themselves to the ground so breathe evenly and consistently. Once you overcome the double tree pose, noticeable results in your overall balance can be seen.
How to do it:
- Stand side by side facing the same direction. Bring your inside arm around each other’s waist.
- Put your weight on the inside leg and bring your outside foot to your ankle just like in a regular tree pose.
- Once you find your balance, bring your arm across the front of your body and press palms with your partner.
- Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Switch sides.
4. Buddy boat pose
This pose gently works the core and is energetic and fun. It stretches the hamstrings and encourages support and strength. You may not work your breathing and balance in harmony at first try but practice makes perfect. Don’t take it too seriously and just laugh it off.
How to do it:
- Start with a comfortable seated position facing each other, knees bent and toes touching. Reach out to your partner’s wrists and hold them tightly.
- Walk the soles of your feet together while bringing the knees slightly into the chest.
- Use your hold as leverage and lift your chest toward each other. Keep the spine straight as much as possible.
- With the spine straight and chest lifted, straighten the legs slowly. This can be challenging thus try to straighten one leg at a time.
- Hold for 5 to 7 breaths. Then gently release feet back to the floor.
5. Double plank pose
Doing this pose needs the core support of the base and the stability to hold the pose of the top partner. It’s a challenging pose but once you master this pose comfortably both of you will feel like a rock solid team.
How to do it:
- The base will start with the plank pose (insert instruction for plank pose)
- Base’s hands should be shoulder-width apart, arms straight, and core engaged. Avoid raising your butt in the air and hips shouldn’t be sinking towards the ground. This is to protect the back and remain solid.
- The flyer faces the base’s feet but not straddling their legs. Place hands on the ankles and push down with straight arms. Raise the foot closest to your base and put your ankle on the farthest shoulder.
- Point your toes and press down on their shoulders using the top of the foot. To engage your legs and core, place the other foot down on the nearest shoulder. For best stability, flyer should keep his/her shoulder stacked over the base’s ankles.
6. Partner forward fold
Open the hamstrings and calm the nervous system with this pose. In this pose, partner take turns in reaching a deep stretch and release resistance within the body.
How to do it:
- Begin with a wide-legged seated position, kneecaps facing up, and soles of the feet together.
- Extend arms toward each other with the opposite palm to the forearm. Inhale to lengthen up through the spine.
- As one person fold forward from the hips, the partner sits back. This keeps the spine and arm straight.
- Hold for 5 to 7 breaths. Release each other’s arms then bring the torso upright. Repeat in the opposite direction.
7. Double downward dog
This pose is a gentle inversion that stimulates communication and closeness. It also brings length to the spine and strengthens it.
How to do it:
- Begin with the Downward Dog pose, one in front of the other. Walk the knees and feet back around 5 inches, tucking the toes under thus you’re on the balls of the feet.
- Stride the feet and hands back until you walk to the outside of your partner’s lower back. Finding the back of their hips helps in establishing a stable and comfortable position.
- As you move through the pose, communicate with each other. Be verbal about what feels comfortable and what doesn’t.
- Hold for 5 to 7 breaths. To release, have your partner slowly bend his/her knees, lower the hips down, and back to the child’s pose as you slowly release the feet on the floor. You can opt to repeat it with the opposite person.
8. Dancer Duo pose
Doing this pose will require flexibility, balance, and focus. It’s going to be hard at first but once you start to trust each other and have a great communication you’ll master this pose in no time.
How to do it:
- Start with the standing pose, facing each other with your left hand’s palm together overhead.
- Raise right leg and hold the foot. Hips should be squared and facing forward. Raise leg as high as you can.
- Switch sides and repeat pose.
This certain partner pose opens the shoulder and chest. It also works the lower body, focusing on the thighs and butt.
How to do it:
- Face each other in a standing position.
- Step the feet under the hips and inhale. Extend the arms over the head and begin to hinge forward at the hips until you meet hands with your partner.
- Then slowly begin to do the forward fold, bring the elbows, forearms, and hands so they are resting against each other.
- Equal weight should be rested against each other before releasing the chest and belly towards the floor.
- Hold for 5 to 7 breaths. Slowly walk towards each other, bring torso upright, then release arms down.