Problem is today, we exist in a very “touch-phobic society.” I remember growing up and hanging out with my friends back when I was a teenager. We’d go out for pizza or something else and you know what we talked, laugher, made eye contact, touched, and essentially enjoyed each other’s company. You don’t see that today. Not to long ago, I was watching the news and saw where a little elementary school boy was suspended because he gave his teacher a hug. Really! And then, I can’t tell you how many times, I see young people out with their friends, but they aren’t making eye contact. Instead, everyone’s heads are engaged to their Smart phones and they are busy texting. All in all, they aren’t truly there. And it’s sad!
So I propose something SCARY to do in your yoga class. And it’s appropriate since Halloween is tomorrow. What is it? Partner Yoga.
Partner Yoga is a great opportunity to get back to those nonverbals. But, if you are introducing it for the first time, I would recommend a gentle approach. Save the climbing on top of each other aerial and double downward facing dogs for a later class.
Here are some great poses to thread together a class with…
1. Community Pose – This is extended mountain but, you are holding hands or the taller person’s forearm. This works great in your sun salutations.
2. Double Side Bend – This is a great limbering/warm up type of pose. You stand next to your partner but side to side. Place your hand on each other’s hips and the outside hands connect overhead. Just side bend one way and then the other. This is a wonderful side stretch!
3. Lean Away – Another side bend variation. This time step back with the outside foot and place against your partner. Inside forearms grasp. Have a tight hold and lean away from each other.
4. Double Backbend – This time face each other. Grasp hands or forearms and both of you do a backbend.
When you are putting your class together, think about the stages of your class. What can you do in your sun salutations to incorporate touch or partner work? I already suggested “Community Pose” which works great. If you do a sun B variation, maybe try “Dragonfly Twist” and have the partners kind of high five each other.
5. Dragonfly Twist – While in low lunge, the outside leg steps back. Settle hand next to the inside of the foot and twist into the bent leg as arm reaches up towards the sky.
You might consider poses where backsides are together. Poses to consider might be “Star,” “Warrior II,” and “Triangle.” All of these can be done back to back.
The great thing about partner work is that your partner can truly help create depth with various poses. (I wrote about some of these poses a while back so I’ll just list them here). These include “Double Owl,” “Heart and Butterfly and, “Diamond Pose.” Other poses are just fun to do with a partner. These include “Double Boat” and balancing poses such as “Double Dancer,” and “Double Tree.”
So put together a fun partner class. Again, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Know this, recent studies indicate that “insignificant touches” have big positive impacts out in the world. Better tips for waitresses and waiters for one. Interestingly enough, high fives, chest bumps, and backslaps between athletic team members often contribute towards successful seasons which is great for a sports team. Additionally, people are more likely to remember someone’s name when they meet if they shook hands verses if they hadn’t. Then, after you have a partner class, ask your clients if they had fun. Bet they say yes!
So get to work and design a fun little partner class. Throw it in once in a while. Create a fun playlist. Watch the smiles.