The definition of “yoga” is to yoke or unite.
This means you’re uniting your mind, body, and spirit, but you can certainly use yoga to unite yourself with your friend, partner, or even complete strangers.
The popularity of partner yoga is swiftly rising and for good reason! Not only do yoga poses for two people help you guys bond, it makes feel-good poses even more amazing because someone helps you get more deeply into the asana.
Grab your strongest friend or your partner and take flight!
Partner Yoga Terms
Let's look at two terms you should familiarize yourself with before giving partner yoga a try:
Base: The person on the bottom and responsible for keeping their partner supported. The base should be stronger than the flyer, but they should be good at “bone stacking” to turn themselves into a solid base.
The base doesn’t have to weigh more than the flyer if they have the strength necessary to support them.
Flyer: the person on top doing most of the asanas.
A flyer should be fairly proficient in yoga to make the poses easier (and safer!).
7 Great Partner Yoga Poses for Two People
#1 Do You Hate Planks? It’s Time to Fly!
Are you a plank hater? Spice up this universally non-favorite by taking it to new heights.
Base: Lie on your back, placing your heels directly over your hips.
Flyer: Face your base with your toes almost touching their buttcheeks.
Base: Place your feet on the hipbones of your flyer and put your hands into a reverse hand-to-hand grip.
Move slowly the first few times you get into the air. This helps minimize how many times you fall!
Flyer: Lean onto your base person’s feet, making sure to keep your entire body in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Don’t arch your back and keep your shoulders plugged into their sockets. Think of it as a standing plank.
Base: Keep your arms straight and take the weight of the flyer in your feet before you straighten your legs. Once your legs are straight, keep your heels over your hips. You can bend your knees a bit if you have tight hamstrings.
Flyer: Engage your core to protect your back and let your base take you off the ground.
Base: Your arms need to be straight, your shoulders pressed into the mat, and your hands should be over your shoulders. Keep your heels over your hips to keep you and your flyer balanced.
Flyer: Keep your hands pressed into your base’s hands to stay balanced. Lift your toes like you would in locust pose.
**If you have a spotter, they should be next to the flyer’s hips as they ensure the base’s heels are over their hips at all times.**
#2 Don’t Care to Fly Just Yet? Stack Your Plank Instead
If you’re not quite ready to go completely airborne, try this plank variation a bit closer to the ground. It will also help you get the strength needed for a flying plank while still being one of the most challenging partner yoga poses.
Base: Get into plank pose. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart to remain solid. Your arms should be straight and your core engaged to protect your back. Your butt shouldn’t be in the air and your hips shouldn’t be sinking towards the ground.
Flyer: Face the base’s feet without straddling their legs. Putting your hands on their ankles, push down with straight arms. Raise the foot that’s closest to your base and put your ankle on their farthest shoulder.
Point your toes and press down into their shoulder with the top of your foot. Engaging your legs and core, put your other foot on the nearest shoulder.
**Flyer Tip: Keep your shoulders stacked over your base’s ankles for the best stability.**
#3 Want to Keep Flying? Work Your Hip Flexors in Half Frog
This is a great hip flexor stretch you can access directly from Front Plank pose. Be careful if you’re ticklish, though!
Base: From your Front Plank pose, keep your knees stacked over your hips and your core engaged. There needs to be a straight line from your ankles to your knees to your hips.
Keep your arms straight and carefully move your right foot forward so it’s just above the flyer’s knee. Turn your toes out and cup your flyer’s thigh with your foot.
Flyer: Release your left hand (keeping the right straight) and reach back for your left foot. Hold the inside of your foot and slowly rotate your elbow up.
Press your left foot into your palm and lift your chest for a deeper thigh and hip flexor stretch.
#4 Inversions for Lazy People: Folded Leaf
This inverted pose gives you all the benefits of an inversion without actually requiring the skill to hold a handstand. The pose also gives you a gentle spinal stretch.
Hang out and chat about your crazy coworker or who left the lid off the tube of toothpaste this time.
Base: From Front Plank, turn your feet outwards so your flyer’s hipbones are now on the inside edges of your feet.
Flyer: Fold forward until the crown of your head is brushing the base’s belly and your feet are off the floor.
As the base straightens their legs, your hands should be hanging loosely towards the ground. Put your legs spread in a gentle V for more balance.
Base: Hold the flyer’s hands so they can come out of the forward fold. Slowly bend your legs and lower them down until your flyer touches the ground again.
#5 It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Great Stretch: Super Yogi
This is a great pose to transition into from Folded Leaf. Super Yogi offers an incredible stretch for your back and shoulders because it’s pulling your body in two different directions. Maybe don’t do this pose if you and your partner are mad at each other...
Base: From the full Folded Leaf position, grab your flyer’s wrists.
Flyer: Extend your arms forward and interlace your fingers.
Base: On an exhale, push your legs away while gently pulling your flyer’s wrists forward. Inhale your legs back to a stacked position and repeat as desired.
#6 Walk All Over Your Partner: Foot to Shin Forward Fold
This forward fold offers you all the benefits of a traditional forward fold except you’re perched carefully on your partner’s shins. Don’t be shy; you’ll be making a lot of eye contact in this one.
Base: Laying on your back, draw your knees into your chest and flex your toes.
Flyer: Grab your base’s hands in a reverse hand-to-hand grip and lean into their hands as you step onto their shins.
Base: Grab your flyer’s ankles and pull down to keep them stable.
Flyer: Make sure you keep your heels on the inside of the base’s shin bone, using your first and second toes to wrap around the sides of the shin bone. Your toes should be directly under your base’s kneecap, but NEVER on the kneecap. Release your base’s hands and slowly stand up into mountain pose.
Base: Keep holding onto your flyer’s ankles, pulling down to keep you both steady.
Flyer: As you fold, you can hold on to your shins, ankles, or your base’s knees.
#7 You’re Queen (or King) of the World: Throne Pose
Do you get accused of acting like a princess? Well, it’s time to sit like one in this accessible but exhilarating pose.
Flyer: From the shin-to-foot forward fold, reach for your base’s hands and take a reverse hand-to-hand grip. Be sure to put your weight into the hands instead of their legs. Bend your knees.
Base: Slowly bend your knees one at a time, putting your feet on your flyer’s upper thighs and lower buttocks.
Flyer: Sit down slowly onto your base’s feet, keeping the soles of your feet in contact with the shins.
Base: Once your flyer is sitting down, you can straighten your legs, remove the hand-to-hand grip, and support the flyer’s feet with your hands.
Final Partner Yoga Tips
However, I like to say you shouldn’t date anyone you aren’t comfortable with, so this could be a great ice breaker!