Friends, lovers, random people you meet in the park — there’s nothing quite like the bonding experience of partner yoga poses. And with a second lockdown looming and people looking for things to do at home, these yoga poses for two people will give you an afternoon of fun and a good stretch.
I was a little sceptical (and fearful!) about practising yoga pose for two people to begin with, but I have to say I’m a convert. Not only are they super fun, a great way to liven up your solo yoga practise, and highly Instagramable (usually on the 5th or 500th attempt), I have actually found that practising yoga poses for 2 people has given me some unexpected yoga benefits… I have met some yogis who claim partner yoga is ‘not proper yoga’, but yoga poses for two have helped me deepen my practice by cultivating more mindfulness, inner focus and joy — which sounds a lot like yoga to me!
If yoga poses for 2 sounds like more than you can handle right now, start off with these yoga poses you should be doing every day, my top pick of online yoga courses, or — if you wallet (or the pandemic…) permits — one of these yoga retreats I am currently dreaming of.
The Benefits of Yoga Poses for Two People
Practising yoga poses with a partner requires a lot of trust-building, developing your listening skills, and also engaging with your intuition so you can respond to your partner’s non-verbal cues.
So yes, partner yoga is a lot of fun, but I have most benefited from letting myself be vulnerable and open to another person. Yoga has been transformative for me on so many levels, but most often in a very personal and deep way — so having a practice that not only takes me inwards but helps me better navigate my relationships with others (including off the mat!) has been pretty magical.
When I’m feeling unmotivated to practise yoga I also find that calling up a buddy for a session of yoga poses for 2 works wonders — again, not only because it’s fun and keeps me accountable but also because there is something about practising yoga poses with a partner that helps me to tune into myself and reminds me why yoga is just so amazing. Incidentally, exercising with a friend does wonders for motivation and accountability — not only is that a scientifically proven fact, but it also has the most phenomenal name: ‘exercise contagion’.
The Ultimate Guide to Partner Yoga Poses
These are my favourite yoga poses for two people — from beginner to experienced, warm-up to wind down!
Yoga Poses for 2: Beginners and Warm-Up
You definitely don’t need to be a seasoned yogi to explore some yoga poses for 2 people! These poses are great for beginners as well as warming up. The warm-up is essential as not only does it physically prepare you but it really lets you tune into both your partner and yourself — also the gentle nature of these poses helps to counteract any anxiety you might be feeling!
Partner Seated Cat-Cow
Great for warming the spine up, developing trust, and syncing breath and movement!
- Sit cross-legged opposite your partner, knees touching.
- Take a hold of each other’s forearms. Explore leaning back to find a balance and establish that trust that neither of you will let go of the other!
- On an inhale: slide the shoulders down the back and arch the spine, puffing your chest towards one another. Just as you would for regular seated cow pose.
- On an exhale: round the spine into a C-shape, scrooping the belly in and dropping the head forward. Just as you would for seated cat pose!
- Repeat as many times as you like!
My go-to hamstring/back of the body stretch and a great one to develop your listening skills. You have a couple of options with the legs depending on flexibility.
- If you are feeling flexible then both take your legs into a straddle position, soles of the feet pressed against your partners. If your legs are different length, adjust the width of your legs to accommodate both of you.
– OR –
If you are tighter, take your legs into a loose diamond shape, the soles of your own feet will be squeezed together but the tips of your toes and your partners will be touching. This is less intense on the hamstrings but still stretches the back of the body and outer hips.
- Take a hold of your partners forearms or wrists (but not hands!). Very gently start to rock back and forth, one of you leaning back and the other coming into a forward fold. The stretch will intensify as you come forward.Do this for at least 5 breaths
- Once you feel a little warmed up in the back of the body, take turns in staying in the forward fold position for a few breaths. If it feels okay for you, you can encourage your partner to gently pull you forward — but please be careful of your hamstrings, they are vulnerable in this position! Listening to both what your body is telling you, as well as your partners cues is the trick
Partner Chair Pose
If you are looking to build some strength in your 2 person yoga poses this is for you!
- Start by standing back-to-back and interlace your arms through your partners.
- Lean into each other’s backs and slowly walk your legs out a few footsteps to start.
- In unison — you will need to talk to each other — slowly squat down. You may need to shuffle your feet out further as you go.
- Once you have found that sweet spot (well, more like thighs-on-fire spot), hold for as many breaths as you feel comfortable. You and your partner can both focus on taking some deep breaths and feeling the slight expansion in the back of each other’s rib cages.
- To come out of the pose you will need to coordinate your movements. At the same time start to slowly straighten the legs and walk your feet back in.
Easy Yoga Poses For Two People
These are some of my favourite yoga poses for 2 persons, because they look really cute and are very very easy! If you are new to yoga, partner yoga, or you and your fellow yogi are very different heights these all work well!
Partner Seated Twist
- Both sit cross-legged and back to back.
- On an inhale lengthen the spine and on an exhale both twist towards your left — your bodies will be spiralling in the same direction.
- Both you and your partner will take your right hand to your left knee, and reach your left hand behind you grabbing hold of each other’s right thigh. You can use your arms to help leverage your spine deeper into the twist.
- Stay as long as you like, and repeated on the other side when you are ready.
Partner Yoga Tree Pose
This one is easier if you are similar heights, but can still be done if you are different heights, your tree will just be less symmetrical!
- Stand directly next to your partner and both reach the arm that is between you towards the sky, rotate the palm so it is pressing into your partner’s palm (or forearm if there is a height difference).
- Take your other hand to heart-centre, in a half prayer mudra, and then push it into your partners so you are in a two-person prayer mudra. With your hands pushing into each other you are creating some stability for your balance.
- One at a time, lift your outer leg into a tree pose. The foot can rest on the calf, inner thigh, or you can even keep the toes planted if you feel insecure. You may need to release the prayer mudra hand for a moment to help lift your foot into position.
- Repeat on the other side when you are ready
More Challenging Yoga Poses for Two People!
These ones are a little more challenging and work best with someone who is a similar height to you.
Partner Yoga Reverse Warrior
- Both start in Warrior 2 legs, facing away from each other so the outside blade of the back foot is pushing against your partners (it’s a good way to practise grounding through the outer foot, and not letting the arch collapse inwards!).
- Come into your reverse warrior: keep the back arm resting down for now, on an inhale reach the front arm forward and exhale start to reach it back overhead, lengthening through the side of your body. Slide the back arm down your thigh.
- You and your partner’s top arms will be travelling towards each other so feel out for each other’s hands! As you aren’t looking at them you will really have to get a feel for where they are moving. Once you have connected hands either stay fingers interlaced, or explore coming to a prayer position or tenting your fingertips together
Partner Yoga Standing Wide-Legged Forward Fold
- Start by standing facing away from each other, approximately 10 cm apart.
- Step out into a wide-legged straddle position, you and your partner will need to decide on what width you want to go for — this one is about compromise, and finding a width that works for both of you.
- On an exhale fold forward, let your arms dangle down to the ground.
- Ground really firmly through your legs, as you extend your arms back behind you through your legs.
- Grab on to each other’s arms — depending on your arm length it may be hands, forearms or even biceps! Avoid clasping on the wrist or elbow joint but anywhere else is fine!
Partner Yoga Balance Warrior III
- Stand opposite each other and extend your arms forward so your fingertips touch — as you go into the pose you may need to move further or closer apart, it varies depending on arm and torso length.
- Together, extend the arms overhead, palms facing each other.
- Exhale and start to fold forward, arms still extended, and stop when the torso and legs are at a 90° angle.
- Rest your hands on your partner’s biceps — adjust your distance if you need to so you can both firmly take hold of each other.
- Both lift your right leg behind you in to your warrior III position. By lifting the same leg, because you are facing each other, you will be working with diagonally opposite legs. This is both more stable for the supporting and lifted leg.
- Repeat on the other side.
- If you want to challenge yourself, try lifting the leg that’s in the same plane — but be prepared to wobble!
Acro Yoga Poses For Two People (well technically three!)
A lot of the more challenging yoga poses for 2 people require you to be able to competently do handstands and have crazy flexibility and strength — as well as a really really regular and trusting partner yoga practise. I decided not to include these because, well, I care about you. I really wouldn’t recommend trying to plank on your buddy or do a handstand holding on to someone’s shins if you’re just dabbling in partner yoga. Your back, front teeth, or relationship may not survive!
HOWEVER, if you do want to try out some fun and fancy poses then I recommend getting into acro yoga! You can do stuff that looks amazing… but really isn’t all that hard! You do however need three people:
- the flyer: this is the person who will be lifted in the air
- the base: this is the person on the floor lifting the flyer
- the spotter: this person is there for support. They will be close by, and able to step in and help support/safely catch and lower the flyer if anything goes awry.
Often you take it in turns — however, it is definitely easiest and most comfortable for everyone if the biggest, strongest person is basing and smallest person flying.
Or what I used to call aeroplane as a kid.
- The base lies flat on the ground, engages their core strongly (particularly the transverse abdominals) and raises their legs into the air.
- The flyer stands in front of the bases raised legs. The base rests their feet in the flyers groin. It may be more comfortable if the bases feet turn outwards slightly into a V shape. The flyer can rock forward and backwards a few times, making sure they feel like the base’s feet are in the right place, as well as testing out shifting their weight from their own legs into the base’s.
- The base extends their arms up, and the flyer grasps their hands (the base’s knees will probably be slightly bent and the flyer already rocked forward a little). Once you have firmly grasped hands, both of you need to extend and lock the arms out so you have one solid straight line through the arms.
- Flyer, engage your core strongly and shift your body weight into the base. Base, keep your knees bent, core engaged, and start to take more of the flyer’s weight.
- Flyer let yourself be lifted up by the base, core engaged and legs straight behind you. Base, keeps the knees bent and start to slowly straighten them.
- … and by now the flyer you should be up in the air — whole body straight and engaged! Your joined arms should be in one straight line from base’s shoulders to flyer’s shoulders.
- From front plank: if you are feeling super stable and competent, you can release arms. Base — place your arms down by your side, palms pressing down often gives more stability.
- Flyer — extend your arms out to the side, slightly angled downwards in an arrow shape towards your feet. Draw your shoulders down the back and really engage the muscles under your shoulder strongly — this helps create a very slight backbend!
- From bird, reconnect hands again but keep the arms a little soft. Using each other for support, flyer to let yourself hinge and fold forward at the waist.
- Release arms, flyer you will be dangling softly in an inversion. Base, you can reach your hands forward and gently massage the flyers neck.
- To come out of any of these poses: connect hands, and base start to slowly bend your knees so the flyer can tilt their weight back and connect their feet back to the ground.
- Flyer – show your base some love by massaging their feet or giving their legs a gentle tug (If you know any Thai yoga massage, this is a nice place to show off your skills)!
- One person comes into a closed knee child pose — as you will be taking your partner’s weight on your back feel free to place some folded blanked underneath you to support your knees and shins
- The other person will gently sit down on the person in child’s pose: facing away from them, sit so your butt makes contact with the fleshy part at their lower back/top of their butt. Make sure to keep some of your weight in your legs to begin with.
- Start to lie back on your buddy in child’s pose. Let your arms dangle open giving you a really juice chest opener. If all feels good for both of you extend your legs out straight.
- To come out of the pose walk your feet in first and plant their firmly, and engage your core to sit up. Try not to push down to heavily on the person in child’s pose, particularly if they are smaller than you.
- Swap positions!!
- Sit crossed-legged, back to back. Let your hands rest on your knees. Tune into your physical experience and notice the rise and fall of your partners breath — you will feel it in your back. Perhaps you even become aware of their heartbeat. Let your breath sync to their rhythm.
- Another option is to sit in sukhasana (cross-legged) opposite each other, knees touching, and gaze into each other’s eyes… it’s intense. I feel anything from deeply loved to highly judged (my therapist assures me that judged feeling is just me projecting)… sometimes I even cry! Anyway, if you are looking to build some intimacy give it ago!
This is considered a therapeutic acro pose and is super yummy.
Exiting the Pose
Restorative Partner Yoga Child’s Pose and Fish Pose
It’s nice to wind down with something relaxing for the both of you — take turns doing this one as it’s pretty delicious for both of you.
Partner Yoga Supported Sukhasana
A really gorgeous way to finish up your practice.
So, those are my favourite yoga poses for two people… I promise there is something for everyone and you can always let me know how you got on in the comments below! And please tag me / send me photos via Instagram if you try any of those!