As summer draws to a close and the weather in the UK becomes significantly more saturated, many of us are swapping out laps of the park with trips to the gym or at-home workouts. Yoga is basically the perfect autumn activity as it promotes that sense of peace and fulfilment that many of us feel as that back-to-school state of mind surfaces. And, as an added bonus, it turns out yoga is a fun couple’s activity too…
Now, we know what you might be thinking—two people attempting a conjoined downward dog will just end with everybody getting kicked in the face. But don’t assume failure yet! Because we’ve spoken to the yoga instructor and life coach Mariel Witmond and gotten all of the tips and tricks you need to nail the top couples yoga poses.
‘These poses are great to create trust, communication, intimacy and connection with your partner,’ Mariel tells Grazia. ‘They can help you learn how to embrace the support of your partner without relying on it to achieve the pose - a reminder that our partners are there to complement us, not complete us. This is a lovely way to spend quality time together that can be fun and playful.’ So, let’s dive in…
Fun couple's yoga poses to try right now
‘Standing roughly side by side two feet apart (or less), one person will bring their right foot to the inside of their left thigh and the other will bring their left foot to the inside of their right thigh,’ says Mariel. ‘The arm on the inside will reach towards the partner’s hip, criss-crossing the arms as the arm on the outside reaches overhead towards the partner’s hand. Use the hand on the hip to gently press away as you stretch along the external side of your body.
Note: never place the foot on your knee. If the thigh is inaccessible, place it on the calf instead.
‘This is similar to twin trees, but slightly closer together,’ Mariel explains. ‘This time both of you will separate the feet wider than hip distance with the toes pointing outwards. As you bend your knees you want to ensure that the knee stacks over the ankle and follows the direction of the toes. You will bring the forearm of the arm closest to your partner onto your thigh and reach the other arm overhead towards your partner’s hand.’
Note: As you reach across to your partner, be sure to keep both of your knees bent and that the knees don’t start to collapse inwards.
‘Come to sit on the floor with your knees bent, facing one another,’ says Mariel. ‘Bring the soles of your feet to the soles of your partner’s feet end straighten your legs (you may need to adjust your seat for this). Reach your arms out towards one another and clasp hands, maintaining a long spine.
Note: If your spine starts to curve, bend your knees instead.
‘Come to lie down on the floor facing one another,’ Mariel explains. ‘Ensure you have enough space to reach your arms out ahead towards your partner. On your inhale, engaging your core and back chain, lift the arms, your head and chest off of the ground as well as your legs. You can try to clasp hands with your partner if that feels comfortable or bring fingertips to touch.’
Note: If you struggle with lower back pain, separate your feet a bit wider
Double downward dog
‘Your partner will come into a normal downward facing dog,’ Mariel says. ‘Once in position, you will either bring your hands a few feet away from theirs and walk your feet onto their shoulders OR you can bring your hands closer to theirs and walk your feet onto their hips. With your feet on their hip bones, you can gently press your partner back helping to deepen their stretch as they lower their heels towards the ground.
Note: The person coming on top is coming into an inversion so be careful and ensure your hips don’t go beyond your shoulders compromising stability.
‘Have your partner come into a strong plank pose with shoulders stacking over wrists and the core engaged,’ Mariel explains. ‘You will turn to face the other direction and bring your hands onto their ankles. When ready, either bring your feet onto their shoulders with your toes tucked or untuck your toes and allow the front of your ankles to rest of their shoulders.’
Note: This is a harder pose than it appears, so be sure to keep the alignment and engagement so you do not collapse out of it.
‘You will come into plough pose, lying on your back and bringing your legs over your head,’ says Mariel. ‘Your partner then places their legs over yours and comes into a seated forward fold creating an infinity sign with your bodies. Grab onto each other’s arms to deepen the fold.’
Note: When in plough pose it is very important not to move your neck and be sure to communicate with your partner if their weight on your legs becomes too much.
‘Another fun inverted pose to do with a partner - here your partner will come into dandasana, seated with legs long and spine straight,’ Mariel says. ‘Facing their feet, you will bring your hands onto their ankles. Once positioned, you will lift one leg up for your partner to grab onto with their arms overhead and then lift the other leg. Bring your hips to stack over your shoulders creating a square shape with both of your bodies.’
Note: This pose requires a lot of trust in one another, be sure to communicate as you come into the pose and that you feel safe going upside down.
‘Face your partner and walk apart enough that as you fold forward reaching your arms out in front of you, you have enough space to then either touch fingertips or clasp hands,’ Mariel explains. ‘Once in position, both of you will reach your right leg long as you start to fold forward with arms outstretched until you create a straight line from your fingertips to your right heel - upper body and leg parallel to the floor.’
Note: Try to reach for your partner for connection but less so for support or you may lose necessary engagement to find balance in the pose.