Finding creative ways to connect with your partner can be challenging, especially in long-term relationships and marriage. Building trust and intimacy can be done through couples’ yoga.
500 hr E-RYT yoga teacher trainer and founder of Yoga Angels International, Sandra “Suhbadra” Griffiths, believes that “yoga gives us self-awareness, and once we have that it overflows into the lives of those, we are close to, it allows us to share ourselves wholesomely”.
During yoga, both you and your partner will learn to communicate properly, leading you both to be open, confident, and understanding with each other. Let’s explore seven yoga poses that you can do with your partner to build intimacy.
1. Seated centering/grounding
While preparing your mind for the practice you are about to commence, this pose allows you to connect with your physical and spiritual environment. You will realize that meditation is an important aspect of practicing yoga successfully.
How to do it: Sit cross-legged, facing your partner with your hands on each other’s knees. If sitting cross-legged is uncomfortable, sit up on a folded towel or pillow for more support. Look into your partner’s eyes, taking a few moments to truly see the other person. Take 10 deep breaths in and out and allow for a deeper connection without words. Our daily lives can get so busy that we forget the true importance of seeing each other for who we are.
2. Seated cat cow (Marjaryasana/Bidalasana)
This position is called cat cow and consists of two poses that are usually paired together. Cat cow aids in stretching the hip, core, and back muscles. The seated cat cow also helps with expanding the lungs and chest. Intimacy is more easily created when both your bodies are relaxed which can be achieved through this pose.
How to do it: Remain seated and reach for each other’s forearms. Maintain a firm grip as you release your shoulders down and back. On the inhale, lift your chest up to the ceiling, allowing for a slight arch in your upper middle back. As you exhale, draw your chin into your chest, rounding through your upper middle back and spreading your shoulder blades wide apart.
Continue the same movement for a few cycles of breath, and as you warm up your spine, you may lift your gaze up to the ceiling as you inhale and allow your gaze to fall to your belly button as you exhale. Do 10 to 12 rounds, developing trust while using the support of your partner to find a sense of spaciousness in your chest and upper back.
3. Back-to-back chair pose (Utkatasana)
This pose is great for beginners to yoga because you can use each other for support. This is great practice for you both to depend on each other outside of yoga and this will in turn, increase intimacy. Utkatasana is also an amazing way to strengthen the muscles in your feet and thighs while increasing the mobility in your ankle.
How to do it: Stand back-to-back with your arms relaxed by your sides. Press your backs firmly together as you walk your feet hip-width apart and then slightly away from your partner’s. Slowly bend your knees and lower down as if you are sitting on a chair.
Once you reach a 90-degree angle in your knees, pause, and take five to six steady breaths. Be sure to lift the crown of your head and maintain length in your spine, pressing down evenly through both feet. To transition out, press into each other to straighten the legs. This exercise helps build trust, especially during the transition from standing to chair when you’re using the support of your partner.
4. Seated forward backbend (Paschimottanasana/Matsyasana)
The seated forward back bend is meant to be an intense stretch for your back and legs. Although this pose is a bit challenging, it can be achieved through communication and patience. These two elements are important keys in building intimacy between you and your partner.
How to do it: Sit back-to-back with your partner. Have one partner extend their legs and begin to fold forward (for tight hamstrings and or lower back issues, bending the knees slightly). The other partner bends the knees and places both feet flat on the floor, beginning to lean backward onto the support of the other person. Hold for five to six deep breaths, then come up right and switch positions.
Be sure to check in with your partner with this one. Based on their feedback, you can apply more pressure, releasing into the support of each other. This exercise cultivates physical connection as you lean into each other.
5. Downward Dog/child’s pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana/Balasana)
These two stretches are the most popular stretches in yoga. They are great to do with your partner because they help to deepen your stretch. This pose may flow over into your sex life as you both become more flexible, and we know sex is an important part of physical and emotional intimacy!
How to do it: Have one partner settle into a wide-kneed child’s pose, with the big toes touching, and the knees spread at least hip-width apart, the arms outstretched and at least shoulder-width apart. Have the other partner stand facing him or her and have him or her grasp for an ankle with each hand. The standing partner can walk their feet back until the other partner’s elbows lift off the ground, allowing for a gentle stretch in the side body, shoulders, and arms.
Then, the standing partner can hinge forward at their hips, placing their hands on the back of their partner’s pelvis (for tight hamstrings, standing partners can gently bend their knees). Be sure to place your hands on the fleshy part of the pelvis, not directly on the spine. Hold for five to six deep breaths. To transition out, have the standing partner bend their knees and shift more weight into the heels as they come back up to stand.
6. Revolved chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
The revolved chair position helps to open your chest and ground your feet. Performing it with your partner is beneficial in that you will be able to push through the stretch much further. Ensure that you both stay focused on your breath with every movement. This will help to build intimacy through your connection with each other.
How to do it: Stand facing each other, one arm’s distance away from your partner. Cross your arms right over left and clasp onto each other’s hands and stand with your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Maintaining a tight grip, slowly bend your knees and lower down as if you are sitting on a chair. Keep your shoulders stacked above your hips, relying on the support of your partner to stay balanced. Keep hold of each other’s right hands, and have each person reach his or her left arm back in line with the shoulder, twisting to the left.
Hold for three to five smooth breaths, then come back to center, clasp each other’s left hands and twist to the right. To transition out, be sure you have a solid grip on both hands, press into your feet, and use the support of your partner to straighten your legs. This exercise takes the back-to-back chair to the next level, requiring a greater sense of trust and security with your partner as you twist away from each other while staying connected.
7. Double plank pose (Adho Mukha Dandasana)
Doing planks with your partner will aid in building confidence in your ability to trust each other. The double plank pose also helps to build trust in your partner as you’re dependent on each other to stay strong or you will both topple over. This pose requires a lot of core strength, but you can do it! You’re low to the ground so the worst scenario is that you and your partner will get a good laugh trying.
How to do it: Start with the stronger and/or taller partner in a plank position. Be sure to line up your wrists under the shoulders, with your core braced and legs straight and strong. Have the second partner face the feet of the other partner in plank, and then step over his or her hips.
From standing, fold forward and grab onto the ankles of the partner in plank. Straighten your arms and lift one foot up, placing it on top of the back of your partner’s shoulder. Try adding the second foot, making sure to maintain a steady grip and straight arms. Hold this pose for three to five breaths, and then carefully step down one foot at a time.
These 7 poses are a great way for you to connect with your partner, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yoga helps couples to build trust and intimacy while sharpening their communication skills with each other. If you would like to embark on a life changing journey with your partner through couple’s yoga, Yoga Angels International is the right place for you.