Achieving Harmony through Practised Partnerships
Like music is the language of love, I would say yoga is the language of rhythm. Playing an instrument is feeling your groove like an out-of-body pulse. When the body transforms into the pendulum of the desired tempo, this flow, or cadence, has the power to balance the ever-fluctuating mind. In the same way that melody and harmony need each other to perform magic, a yoga practice can offer you similar experiences and results when practised with a partner.
Couples yoga, partner yoga, and private yoga are trends that are strongly tied back to teaching techniques. However, like your metronome, our bodies can communicate in harmony with other bodies’ physical connection and touch.
The aura and energy created between two bodies and souls heightens the secrets yoga has to offer when practised safely and intelligently.
The purpose of partner yoga is to deepen and expand your practice (in more ways than one!). Partnering your poses with another person, physically, will provide a resistance element for your practice.
This allows for your muscles to soften and stretch while your partner’s resistance helps your limbs and joints stay in the pose longer, achieving deeper expressions of familiar poses. Relying on a partner also challenges the mind to change tempo and emotionally trust your body in another person’s hands. Working together in this manner creates bonds and builds trust.
Using orchestrated movement and meditating with your partner, (lover, child, friend, practitioner), contributes to your practice both chemically and psychologically, causing this phenomenon called entrainment.
Entrainment happens when people or nature unite in a similar rhythm. Couples yoga actually helps us reach stronger and higher brainwave synchronization.
We already know the synchronicity of rhythm with our organic body happens when musicians reach their flow. Similarly, when you focus on the breath, body, and movement of another person in a yoga practice, your physical body will entrain with the other. It’s a beautiful practice that creates harmony within any couple.
Now that’s not to say partnering in class, as a teaching technique, is for everyone. Just like opera and classical music is not on everyone’s playlist. But, often you will hear a teacher instruct everyone to find a partner.
As a student of yoga, I have to admit, having experienced that call to find a partner, the varying degrees of wariness and health concerns washed over me like a tidal wave.
What if my partner or I slipped and fell? What if I had bone density issues I didn’t know about? What if my partner outweighed me, or I her? What about my bad knee? Concerned about my safety, and uncomfortable turning to the person next to me and saying, “It’s nice to meet you. I’m now going to place my bare feet on your thighs,” I immediately began to cultivate this new relationship with myself and a perfect stranger to trust.
Full disclosure: My approach to partnering exercises in yoga class has generally been… not to return to that teacher’s class! However, the connection, unity, depth and freedom I have felt with partner activity goes beyond what I can achieve on my own sometimes. Isn’t that just the secret to a great marriage or any loving and passionate relationship? Couples yoga isn’t just an activity for two lovers to share to elevate their intimacy. Partnering your yoga practice with another yogi is a true test of maturity, in and out of your yoga relationship. Next class when the teacher calls for partnering, be open with your practice to truly experience what it means to become entrained and create harmony with your body. Namaste