During my yoga teacher training I was delightfully captivated one weekend by the beautiful unspoken dialogue that occurred as I partook of a partner yoga session. At the start of the class I sat back to back with my partner and we were asked to simply observe the other’s breath flowing in and out and just feel the rise and fall of inspiration and expiration. Wow….there is so much going on when you cease the words! I was blown away by just “being” in the presence and aliveness of another human being. It brought me to tears as I realized that love is just sitting there waiting to be felt…it was so simple. I could really tune in and forget the world outside..a meditation for two indeed! My mind was quietened and all I could hear was both bodies singing their tune. We were encouraged to keep words to a minimum and to keep eye contact wherever possible feeling the flow of movement as a meditation.
Breathing flowed into pranayama (breathing exercises), again sitting back to back and from there followed a sequence of asana or posture work where it quickly became obvious that trust was a large element in knowing that my partner was going to be there to support me. After an hour in class, we were all rosy cheeked and vibrant. I felt such warmth and kindness towards my partner and I had a huge amount of fun. We literally belly laughed when we did the “tree” balancing posture, trying and falling again and again.
It got me thinking that physical connection is such a critical element in any relationship for its healthy functioning but it doesn’t have to be about sex. Does having sex make you feel connected? A mixture of responses I guess. In many instances it doesn’t, because there can be a mine field of issues around being comfortable with your body, “pressure to perform”..the list is endless. Partner yoga, or as I have come to rename it, couples yoga, can be a way of injecting that much needed vitality back into your relationship through physical exploration without the pressure of intimacy and it offers a way to heal disconnection. Many couples complain that they don’t spend enough quality time together. Couples yoga provides a new hobby and journey to new chapters in your relationship. All outside “doings” and daily stresses can be left at the door and all you need focus on is the person you have chosen to spend your life with.
One of the things that struck me the most was the clarity of the current dynamic of your relationship and where you are in terms of openness for connection. I experienced couples yoga with a friend and noticed through self observation where my blocks are to being touched, held and supported and how much I like to be in control. Very amusing! Every glitch in your relationship is apparent as is the level of harmony by which you flow through the class.
My belief is that couples yoga has enormous benefits, not least in un-doing some of the negative experiences that have been created through too many words. You can find:
- Deeper Trust – Posture work requires varying degrees of letting go and relying on your partner to support you as you both move through the sequences and trust is essential in knowing that your partner is going to be there to help you get into and out of the postures!
- Bonding – Some of the breathing exercises require you to sit side by side or back to back with your loved one. The simplicity of feeling the aliveness of the other person as they breathe, can be deeply profound. Just feeling each others heart beat brings you to a state of non-mind awareness and will allow heart centered communication to flow.
- Connection – How well do you know your partner’s body? Partner yoga will help you explore the deeper aspects of physical union and will help you notice your partner in different ways. This can lead to a greater ability to listen with intent and communicate with the heart rather than the head. Such a joy!
- Fun – couples yoga is so much fun and provides a platform for bringing joy back into your lives. Laughing is a great way to relieve stress and tension and can make problems seem far less important.#
- Greater Intimacy – Couples who experience disconnection at a sexual level during a difficult phase of their relationship can often feel pressure to “perform” when they don’t really feel close. Yoga can break down this barrier by creating a non threatening environment in which to explore each other without it having to lead to sex. With couples looking for deeper connection, yoga can and will help you improve your sex life. Yoga is ever changing as are our bodies and our human need for new things can be satisfied with this form of union.
- Balance – Postures require balance in order to work properly, therefore you experience greater awareness of what it takes to create balance in your relationship. Having practiced with friends and partners I am always aware of my own balance.
- Communication – in partner yoga, expressing your needs is a sign of strength and by articulating where you need to be held or put will help you “talk” to your partner in a different way.
- Quality time – our world is always hectic and to be able to find time and get fit together, couples yoga ticks both boxes.
I am a relationship educator and motivational speaker on the subject of love and a qualified Unity Hatha Yoga teacher specializing in partner yoga, teaching couples how to re-connect through the very powerful use of non-verbal dialogue. I am also a natural therapist offering spiritual guidance and healing tools as a way to discovering the true self and healing from the past. I am not a counselor or psychologist but I would say, an expert in falling in love and getting hurt. I have a 25 year portfolio of experience in love relationships, which I often fondly reflect on and am now the proud owner of. I don’t have any major sob stories to tell you, but it is true that I have allowed my heart to take a beating a few times. I wanted to know why I was so strongly attracted to the “wrong” men that were non-committal and dangerous for the female heart. During a trip to India in 2007, someone said to me “You must become the person you want to attract Gina”. It was a revelation. I set about self education and reading all the books I could get my hands on about love and why we do the things we do. The result? It is ALL about me and what we give out we get back. Seems so simple but how many of us REALLY know what to do about it?
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