I came to teaching partner yoga because of my own personal affection for closeness. Upon leaving my abusive marriage I had more issues than I realized. I suffered from panic attacks, I am very jumpy especially when someone startles me with their voice, shadow or unexpected touch. The latter is like someone tapping me on my shoulder to say “hey your wallet” or someone grabbing my arm to stop me from stepping in a pile of dog doo.
My body doesn’t really care for touching without permission. I began to consider also some of my most basic needs to feel connected and a love for learning about how to share, how to balance my needs with the needs of others, how to trust, how to communicate and how have fun being touched. Many hurt people are still in the same relationships others have moved on and carried the many painful memories and emotional/physical imbalances of practicing pain.
Sometimes it isn’t things in a relationship hurting a partner it is just life in general. It could be the weight of work, family obligations, sick friends/family, money issues, personal health problems….all these things create stress in the body and heart when things come up in a relationship it can be a trigger that has a domino affect igniting a negative response leading to turmoil. I always lift up self care methods such as meditation, yoga, prayer, and last but not least counseling. Any of the practices can be done solo dolo or together with a partner and both ways has their benefits.
I decided to write this blog from a more intimate perspective because our relationships matter. The integrity and capacity of an individual will determine the boundaries and growth rate of a relationship. We join someone else and choose to share our most intimate moments with them, yet we forget that we are our own people, whose hearts beat and pump blood for one body; we neglect to understand how misinterpreting our boundaries can lead to issues in our relationships. Sometimes we neglect to understand our unclear or coded communication is misleading, manipulative and counterproductive. Other times we decide what our partner should be able to do because we believe we know them best. We forget to learn each other, we forget to ask clear questions for honest reasons and we forget to check that we are not passing off love as infatuation sprinkled with insecurity.
I began teaching Touch: A Yoga Experience for Partners in February of 2017, it was a V-Day class that was so well received I offer it once a month as a part of my schedule. Practicing with your significant other can offer moments of closeness, lightheartedness, and honesty. Sometimes we think we know what our partners can do, and while sometimes we may get it right you quickly learn in class to listen to your partner and provide acceptance and support for their range of motion. What may also bubble up is acknowledging all the parts of your bodies that you don’t touch! Being closer means you know what buttons to push and you can forget to be curious or you can be so drained that you give less of yourself or don’t have the time. A partner practice with bae can be quite inspirational for carving out playtime especially when some of the poses can be done in the bed (insert side eye).
What if my partner doesn’t want to do yoga at all?
I get this question all the time….seriously yoga is not something you want to push onto anyone for any reason. It is ok if your partner does not want to participate in a shared practice. Even though we may see the benefits of it and believe it will help, forcing it is wack as ever. I prefer blackmail LOL….LBS. Seriously have fun on your own yoga path the bae may just join in when they are ready.
Are there classes for beginners?
There are tons of yoga classes for all sorts of populations. Look for partner workshops or yoga studios that offer classes for partners. Most classes are all levels and if they are advanced they will say so. If you’re here in the Chi you can always check out Touch. The classes I teach takes into consideration that for many men it is their very first yoga experience in life. If you are uncertain about class level for you or bae reach out to the studio or instructor they will surely help you out.
How will class help us in our relationship?
I always love answering this question because the answers are super different for everyone. There could be better communication, trust and acceptance; all things that are useful for each individual and couple. Practicing together can remind a couple how to learn together and how to listen to each other. Besides that better flexibility in your body is one thing but yoga tends to creep up off the mat so don’t be surprised if you find yourself being more flexible with life in general.
If you are looking to practice togetherness in a different way playing in partner poses can remind you of just how special connections are and just how meaningful they can be. Our bodies, hearts and minds each need little work outs and don’t feel like you have to be official and go to the studio. My good friends Rich & Shea have learned along the way and built a beautiful home practice. Rich is a former NFL athlete and community leader. He is founder of SecondaryU Inc., whose mission is focused on character development of high school student athletes and is a specialist in the field of sports performance and health & wellness. His beautiful wife Shea is a now stay at home mom, self taught yogini, blogger, artist and more. She has found a passion for educating and sharing the love of yoga for parents through her IG @wildbabesyoga. In part II of Practice, Pose & Play I will be talking a little bit about being a yoga mom and look forward to sharing more about WildBabes.
A home practice can be as simple as a few poses before bed, maybe even a couple in the shower 😉
The fun part about partner yoga is that you can do it anywhere especially on the beach! I love this practice because it lets me just have fun. When you are feeling unsupported a pose can remind you someone cares.
An easy pose to try is one partner in mountain pose (standing) and the other in box pose (hand stand). Maybe don’t do that on the sand though LOL…..to start off at home let the standing partner come with their back on the wall, feel free to guide the hardstanding partners feet or hold at the ankles to help support them. Maybe one leg lifts for a little handstand prep and maybe not.
Always remember to have fun with each other, try new things together and find time to practice whats new and celebrate all your shared moments. Lastly be intentional about your support, your touches and all that you offer to your partner. Oh….and laugh cause y’all gonna need it for when you fall out…and you will fall out. 🙂