Recently, my husband and I have been trying to exercise together more. We love the bonding time and it’s fun to get to challenge each other. We run on treadmills next to each other, take fitness classes, and even lift weights.
But perhaps our favorite exercise to do together is yoga.
I’ve always loved yoga. It helps to relax my mind and strengthen my body at once, but now that I’m doing it with my husband, I’ve found a whole other side of it. There’s something so special about sitting together in a pose, quieting our minds together and even helping each other find the right stretch.
While we love taking yoga classes, we also love practicing easy poses in the mornings and in the evenings after work. These poses make us feel physically ready before we start the day and help us relax before heading to bed. Plus, it gives us some quality time to focus on each other.
We might not be the most experienced, strongest, or most flexible yogis in the world, but we feel so connected and refreshed when we take the time to do just a few simple poses.
Here are 7 great (and simple) couple poses that you and your partner can do at home too.
Partner Seated Spinal Twist
Lots of people forget to stretch their back but it feels so good to give your spine a twist after a long day of sitting in the office. It’s even more fun when you get to do it with your partner.
For this pose, you’ll start by sitting back to back in a cross-legged position. Both of you will reach back with your right hands and place it on your partner’s left thigh. Then, put your left hands on your own right knees. Once you’re in position, practice breathing together, lengthening your spine on the inhale and twisting on the exhale. When you feel you’ve twisted as far as you can go, switch sides and twist the other way.
Simple Partner Camel
The traditional Camel Pose can give you a great backwards stretch, but it can be a little challenging for new yogis. There’s a little bit of balance involved and it requires a fair amount of flexibility. This partner version will give you the same back stretch and you might find it to be a little easier.
Sit back to back again. This time you can sit criss-crossed or in the “butterfly” position with the soles of your feet touching and your knees out. Take a few breaths as you focus on strengthening your back, pushing against each other. Coordinate so that one of you leans backward as the other bends forward. The one who is bending forward can reach their hands out in front of them to get a good stretch (this is also good for stabilization). Move slowly, breathing as you go, and communicate so neither of you are ever uncomfortable. When you’re ready, switch.
Seated Cat Cow
You might have seen or done a traditional Cat Cow Pose before, where the yogi goes on their hands and knees and switches between an arched back and a rounded back.
With the couple’s version of this pose, you get that same stretch but with the added benefit of your partner’s support. You’ll sit cross-legged facing each other. Grab each other’s forearms and practice good posture by pulling your shoulders back and down. Inhale as you look up, allowing your back to arch a little and your head to go back as far as feels comfortable. When you exhale, bring your chin to your chest and round your back, bringing your gaze to your tummy. Move slowly and repeat this motion for as long as feels good to you both.
Seated Bound Angle
This one is a great stretch for your legs.
Sit facing your partner with a nice, tall spine. Decide who will go first and who will go second. Have “Partner One” bring the soles of their feet together in butterfly while partner two extends their legs forward so that the soles of “Partner Two’s” feet touch partner one’s shins. (Note: those legs do not have to be completely straight. If you aren’t very flexible, you might want to keep a slight bend in your knees to protect your hamstrings.) Next, grab each other’s forearms. Partner Two will gently pull Partner One forward so that they fold over their legs, using their shins for leverage. Make sure you are communicating and listening to each other as you breath. The one bending forward should try to lean into the stretch on the exhale but should never go farther than is comfortable.
When Partner One feels they are done, switch positions.
Back to Back Shoulder Stretch
This stretch is great for giving your shoulders a little stretch, and can help both you and your partner with your posture!
For this stretch, the two of you will stand back to back and extend your arms into a “T” position. Interlace your fingers with your palms touching and pick a partner to go first. Gently, the first person should bring their hands just a little bit forward, pulling on their partner’s hands to create a stretch across their chest and shoulders. Then, you’ll switch. Communicate to ensure your partner’s comfort. This pose can give you a deep stretch so be careful not to move too quickly.
Back to Back Chair
Sometimes doing yoga together is just as much an exercise in communicating and working together just as it is a physical activity. The Back to Back Chair Pose is one of those. You’ve probably seen the non-couple version of this pose before, often done against a wall. When done correctly, it looks like someone is sitting in an invisible chair. For this version, instead of using a wall, you’ll use your partner.
Just as with the last pose, you’re going to start this one back to back. So, stand firmly against one another. Communicate as you slowly take small steps forward. Stop when you find your knees at a 90 degree angle. Your backs will still be pushing up against each other and your feet will planted in the ground, but you’ll be in a mirrored sitting position, supporting each other.
Old this pose for as long as you can, taking breaks when you need them.
Partner Boat Pose
This pose can be a little challenging for new yogis but if you’re ready for a balance and flexibility challenge, this one can be a lot of fun.
First, you’ll sit facing each other with feet on the ground and knees bent in front of you. Reach forward and hold hands outside of the knees. You should be just far enough away to not be able to bend your arms to reach your partner’s hands. If you’re sitting too close or too far, adjust.
You might want to sit in this spot for a few breaths to center yourself and find your balance. When you are both ready, lift one foot each (of corresponding legs) and touch your feet sole to sole. Strengthen those legs upward. Do the same with the other legs so that each of your legs are touching each other. If you look at yourselves in a mirror, you should look like the letter “A” with your legs forming the two sides and your arms as the horizontal line in the middle.
Be sure to engage your core and don’t forget to breath.
Hopefully you and your partner have lots of fun with these poses. You might even end up getting hooked and practicing yoga every day together. Not only will you get to improve your flexibility (and maybe get a little stress relief) but you’ll be able to spend that quality time with your honey—which makes it all the more wonderful.