Not for Lovers Only: How Partner Yoga Can Change Our Relationships

One of the most common misperceptions about partner yoga is that it is for “lovers only.” The practice absolutely offers invaluable tools for life partners, but partner yoga has great benefits for anyone.

On the most fundamental level, the practice deepens our capacity to trust—both ourselves and others. We see the value that comes from letting go of our defenses and allowing ourselves to simply relax and be who we are. As we learn to deeply relax, while remaining consciously connected, we naturally activate prana, the deeply rejuvenating energy that nourishes us on every level.

People who do partner yoga for the first time are often surprised and delighted by how this practice impacts them. They often speak of the psychological and emotional experience, as well as the physical. One participant told me, “I felt that I was beginning to live again and that, at last, I had the right to feel my feelings and not hide them.” Another described having a direct, visceral experience of trust and surrender.

Partner yoga is a way to access the deepest regions of our being and, at the same time, invite our childlike nature to come out and play. As we age, it is easy to fall into self-limiting mental and physical patterns. This is actually one of the definitions of the aging process: the restriction and limitation of new neural pathways in the brain.

Partner yoga supports us to break through self-limiting patterns and say yes to life again. We become increasingly willing to feel the trepidation of the unknown, because we have experienced the great gift of expansive aliveness that comes out of our willingness to open and explore new terrain within ourselves. The expansion we feel in the practice has an immediate and powerful impact in our lives, because we now know we are capable of so much more than we thought ourselves to be.

We live in an amazing and powerful era of both material and spiritual technology, and we all feel the need to balance the use of devices with relaxed embodiment. Principle-Based Partner Yoga™ is a technology of embodied relating that integrates universal principles such as compassion, trust, and community. Simply by bringing awareness of these principles into our practice, we actualize our human potential, particularly in the realm of relationships. As a participant expressed in a workshop in Greece, “My biggest breakthrough was simply sitting sacrum to sacrum and feeling that support. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”

Partner yoga releases the conditioning that tells us we must sacrifice our own needs in order to be in relationship with others. We learn that it is only to the degree that we are attending to our own presence and alignment that we able to truly support others.

When we are truly present and aligned within ourselves, supporting others is the most natural outpouring of who and what we are: love embodied. We come to see and know that giving and receiving are really one and the same, and feel the bliss of sharing ourselves deeply and intimately with those around us.

Find out about upcoming programs with Elysabeth Williamson at Kripalu.

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Elysabeth Williamson, E-RYT 500, internationally recognized as the foremost authority on partner yoga, is author of The Pleasures and Principles of Partner Yoga.

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