You might picture yoga as a mostly solo operation — saying “om” while in Sukhasana doesn’t exactly require a buddy, after all. Plus, doing it on your own is a great way to re-center, relieve stress, and improve your overall health.
But partner yoga is also a thing, and it’s def worth a try. After all, “yoga” means “union” in Sanskrit, and the practice is truly about connection — whether with yourself, the universe, or even another person.
You don’t need to be boos or BFFs to do it, either — it’s all about what you’re most comfortable with.
Yoga for two means double the fun and flexibility, right? If you’re up for it, here are the top five partner moves to try.
1. Seated Centering and Grounding
- Sit cross-legged, facing your partner, with your hands on each other’s knees.
Modification: If sitting cross-legged isn’t comfy, use a folded blanket for added support.
- Take some deep breaths as you gaze at each other. (It might feel awk at first, but wait a min — it can get deep AF.)
2. Back-to-Back Breathing
- Sit cross-legged, back-to-back with your partner.
- Pull your shoulders back and relax your arms.
- Start what’s called alternate breathing: When you inhale, your partner exhales, and so on.
- Repeat for at least 10 breaths.
3. Seated Cat-Cow
- Start in Centering and Grounding position, facing your partner, and grab each other’s forearms.
- Slide your shoulders down and back in unison and inhale as you lift your chest to the ceiling. Allow a little arch in your upper middle back.
- Exhale and draw your chin to your chest, rounding your upper middle back.
- Continue for a few breath cycles.
4. Seated Forward Backbend
- Sit back-to-back with your partner. One partner extends their legs straight out, and the other bends their knees and plants both feet flat on the floor.
- The partner with straight knees folds forward at the waist as the other leans backward.
- Alternate after 30–60 seconds to support each other’s weight.
5. Double Plank Pose
- One partner starts in Plank Pose, with wrists under shoulders and core braced. (Usually, this works best with the stronger, taller partner on the bottom.)
- The other partner faces the planking partner’s feet and (carefully!) steps over their hips.
- From standing, the top partner folds forward and grabs the ankles of the planking partner.
- The top partner straightens their arms and engages their core while slowly lifting one foot up and (gently!) placing it on top of the other partner’s shoulder.
- If that feels steady, do the same with the other foot.
- Try to hold the pose for 3–5 breaths.
- Come down one foot at a time.
Posing with a partner carries many potential benefits, including:
Enhanced communication and trust
Partner yoga means leaning on someone else — both literally and metaphorically. At the same time, in a balancing act, you also need to hold the other person up.
Whether you’re engaging with someone you barely know or your S.O., it can enhance communication and trust in all areas of your life.
In a 2010 study from the British Psychological Society, coordinated nonverbal movement (like what’s needed for alternate breathing and couples’ poses) helped couples feel “more attuned to each other.”
Reduced stress and anxiety
OK, so you’ve heard that yoga can help you de-stress. But when you partner up, you might be getting some bonus relaxation and relief through the power of touch.
According to a 2020 review, physical touch can have a powerful calming effect that promotes mental and physical health and a sense of safety. When you practice yoga with a pal, a loved one, or even someone you’ve just met, it may help you feel a little more at peace in the world.
Increased relationship satisfaction
Trying out partner yoga with your S.O. not only will improve your back flexibility but also may improve your relationship.
Plus, while this research is pretty old, a 2000 study suggests that couples who try challenging new activities together feel an enhanced sense of relationship quality and romantic attraction. Who says you have to go skydiving when you can try couples’ yoga instead?
Improved intimacy and sex life
For intimate partners, doing couples’ yoga might boost arousal and sexual satisfaction. Some sexual wellness experts suggest partner yoga may help couples who are struggling with sexual dysfunction in particular.
Although couples’ yoga isn’t sexual in nature, its emphasis on synchronized breath, posture, and movement just might carry over to the bedroom.
Don’t get it twisted: Just because you’re in close contact doesn’t mean you can’t cross the line. Here are some tips for keeping things appropriately aligned during partner yoga:
- Define boundaries. As in any relationship, setting boundaries with your yoga partner is a good idea to define your comfort zone and encourage healthy communication. Before you start, decide what you’re both comfortable with. If you want to stay away from stacked poses, say so!
- Take it slow. Partner yoga takes a little extra finesse to get right. So instead of lunging straight into the flying albatross, start with something simple like back-to-back breathing.
- Communicate. Throughout the process, you’ll need to communicate both physically and verbally to understand where the other’s at. If you’re uncomfortable, want to go slower, or want to stop, be clear and direct.
- Have fun. It takes some time to perfect these poses, so loosen up (literally and metaphorically) and have some fun!
If you want to try partner yoga but don’t already have someone in mind who might be down to Downward Dog with you, here’s where to start:
- Look up couples’ yoga classes in your area. Google FTW. Usually, you won’t need to bring a partner to class. You can connect with someone while you’re there.
- Check your socials. Consider posting on social media to see if anyone you know is down to go — you might just get a chance to reconnect with an old friend too.
- App(ly) yourself. Apps like Bumble, which is designed to help people meet new friends or even gym buddies, is a legit way to put feelers out for a workout partner. If you’re looking for love and yogic harmony, you might want to try a dating app.
- Do it the old-fashioned way. Ask around. Text to your friends, talk with your yoga instructor, call your mom — eventually, someone should be able to direct you toward a willing (or at least curious) yoga partner.
Partner yoga, which involves doing joint poses, is great for intimate and platonic partners alike.
Research suggests it may enhance communication and trust, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase relationship satisfaction. And trying it with your S.O. might just rev up your sex life.
When you try it, just make sure you communicate boundaries and take it slow.