- Trying yoga poses for two people can add greater flexibility and stability to your practice.
- A sitting partner fold is a great stretch for your hamstrings as your partner pulls you.
- Stacking your bodies on top of each other in a downward dog can deepen the stretch.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Regularly practicing yoga is a great way to build strength and increase flexibility — and trying out yoga poses for two people can help push your workout even further.
For example, lung cancer patients who performed yoga with a partner saw an improvement in their flexibility as well as lower body strength after 12 weeks.
Adding a partner to your yoga routine can also give you extra stability in your current poses if you’re struggling. And it can be great for your emotional wellbeing.
“If you enjoy having a workout partner or want to strengthen a current friendship or relationship, partner yoga can help,” says Stephanie Mansour, a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor.
Here are five easy partner yoga poses you can try.
1. Sitting partner forward fold
“The sitting partner forward fold helps you and your partner push yourselves towards greater flexibility while relieving stress and calming your body,” Mansour says.
To do the sitting forward fold, follow these steps:
- Sit on the floor with you and your partner facing each other.
- Both you and your partner straighten your legs in front of you and spread them apart.
- Place the bottoms of your feet against the bottom of your partner’s feet.
- Hold onto your partner’s forearms and hinge forward at the waist, allowing your partner to pull you gently further forward. “You should feel a burn in your hamstrings after holding for a few seconds,” Mansour says.
- Switch positions, with your partner now holding onto your forearms and bending forward. “Pulling your partner forward will give you a rest from the stretch and make the traditional forward fold more fun,” says Mansour.
2. Back to back chair pose
“Perfecting the back-to-back chair pose requires effective communication between you and your partner. Because of this, the pose not only strengthens your quadriceps and lower back, it also helps you build a stronger relationship with the person you’re performing the move with,” Mansour says.
Follow these steps to do the back to back chair pose:
- Stand back to back with your partner, leaning backward against each other
- At the same time as your partner, slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Hold this pose as long as you comfortably can. “Focus on balancing your own body and providing a steady platform on your back for your partner to balance on,” says Mansour.
3. Double downward dog
“The double downward dog may be difficult at first, but once perfected, can be a fun way to stretch your lower body while strengthening your upper body,” Mansour says.
The double downward dog works like this:
- Your partner should start in a traditional downward dog pose, with hands and feet on the ground and butt high in the air making a triangle shape.
- Place your hands flat on the ground, a couple feet in front of your partner’s hands.
- Step your feet up onto your partner’s lower back and lift your butt upward, creating a downward dog shape. “You and your partner should both feel a stretch in your lower body,” Mansour says.
- You can then try switching positions with your partner on top.
4. Extended forward leg pose
This pose is a great way to work on your balance and hamstring flexibility and can be adjusted based on your experience level.
The extended forward leg pose works like this:
- Stand facing your partner about one leg-length away.
- Lift your right leg up to your partner’s left hip and your partner should take your ankle in their left hand, holding your leg up.
- Your partner should do the same with their right leg, placing their ankle in your left hand.
- After holding the pose for a bit, switch sides, so you are each holding each other’s left legs.
5. Standing partner backbend
The standing partner backbend is a great pose to stretch your lower back and chest, Mansour says.
Doing this pose with a partner can also give you extra stability. “Instead of relying on a surface or your own balance, this move allows you to rely on someone you trust to help you stay balanced throughout the move,” Mansour says.
Follow these steps to do the standing partner backbend:
- Start by standing face to face with your partner so that your toes are almost touching.
- Grab onto each other’s forearms and lean backward.
- Lift your chin to look up at the ceiling until you feel a stretch in your back and chest.
“As long as you perform the moves with someone you’re comfortable with, partner yoga is a great way to increase flexibility, strength, and communication,” Mansour says. Doing yoga with a partner can also give you extra stability in the poses and make it easier to build strength.
“I recommend partner yoga for anyone looking for a change in their workout routine,” Mansour says.