Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yoga Can Bring Couples Together

Forget a movie and popcorn: An evening—or an afternoon—spent doing yoga together can make for a great date while keeping both of you fit and healthy. More and more yoga studios are offering couples programs, and not only for romantic pairs, but for parents and children, friends, and workout partners. In many of these programs, prior knowledge of yoga is not even necessary.

However, for romantic partners in particular, yoga can offer a distinctive bonding experience. The focus is on communication, letting your partner know how the various bends and stretches feel, and on remaining aware of and sensitive to one another’s needs and limits.

If you’re both already seasoned practitioners, here are a few ideas to try next time you want to charge up both your fitness routine and your personal connection:

One of you assumes the downward dog posture, traditionally called the adho mukha svanasana. Then the other partner positions his or her feet on the outsides of the first partner’s hands and lowers to rest flat along the first partner’s back, with arms stretched back over the head. Hold the position for a few breaths, and then switch places.

Alternatively, try sitting on the floor back-to-back in a cross-legged pose. Each person stretches back to put his or her right hand on the partner’s left thigh slightly above the knee. Then both partners position their left hands on top of their own right knees. Synchronize your breathing, and try to lengthen and extend the stretch while inhaling, then to increase the amount of the twist while exhaling the breath. Go from one side to the other in this way until you are both limber and energized.

When two people have to work together to achieve correct alignment and optimum stretch, cooperation takes precedence, thus bringing them closer together physically and emotionally.