Welcome to Partner Yoga!
You've found our online gallery of 50 Partner Yoga poses for lovers and friends. We hope it brings you a stronger and more flexible body, a deeper connection with your partner, and a whole lot of fun.
In most cases, instructions can be followed by both partners at once. I've used feminine pronouns to match the photos and the majority of practitioners, but men are of course more than welcome to try.
As you practice, pay close attention to your partner's body as well as your own. You can develop signals like squeezing or tapping, once for "more" and twice for "enough". Always move with awareness and respect your partner's level of strength and flexibility. Synchronized breath, eye contact and smiles can also add a lot to the practice.
You can use the arrows or the thumbnails on the left to explore. Be well and enjoy!
Sukhasana, Siddhasana or Padmasana
Sitting back-to-back lets partners offer each other support, so their core postural muscles can relax. This enables calmer bodies that can go more smoothly into meditation. Synchronized breathing can lead to a deep kinesthetic communication. Partners can try a double breath, inhaling and exhaling together, or practice a yin-yang breath by inhaling as their partners exhale. A strong energetic connection will form as chakras interact and auras overlap. The practice is not suitable for introspective meditation, but mindfulness meditation with a focus on the partner can be quite rewarding. Ego may be reduced as consciousness recognizes itself in another incarnation. Metta meditation can also deepen empathy and compassion here. The Taoist microcosmic orbit can be done in tandem, and pranic energy can pass through joined palms. This practice fosters intimacy, equality and mutual respect between partners. It should not replace independent meditation as a central practice, but it can be beneficial, relaxing, and fun.
Before or after meditating together, partners can sit facing each other and offer a simple greeting, like a seated bow and a gesture of namaste. This can become less formal or more elaborate, and it can develop into a detailed ritual if so desired. Partners can share words written/spoken or quoted/original; they can offer gifts and feed each other fruit or chocolate; or they can practice sustained eye contact, potentially during trataka. These more Tantric practices are obviously very intimate and not suitable for all partners, but they can add another dimension to the connection and communication that occurs during partner yoga, and partner meditation.
Sit cross-legged back-to-back and lengthen your spine upward. Turn both your shoulders to the right and reach your right hand to your partner's left knee. Straighten your back as you inhale, and exhale into a deeper twist, perhaps pulling on your partner's knee for leverage. Allow yourself to relax, be aware of yourself and your partner, and adjust the depth of the pose to suit your flexibility. After several slow and deep breaths, slowly return to the center and repeat, this time twisting to the left.
Seated Side Bend
Sit cross-legged back-to-back. Touch your right hand (and your partner, her left) lightly to the floor while keeping both of your sitting bones grounded. Lengthen your left shoulder away from your left hip, without collapsing your right side. Reach upward and rightward with your left hand. If you're shorter than your partner, hold her forearm nearer the elbow. If your core is strong you might reach your right hand up as well, thus entering an unsupported side bend. If your left sit-bone lifts or your lower back complains at all, pull back from the stretch.
Seated Forward & Back Bends
Adho Mukha & Urdhva Mukha Sukhasana
Sit cross-legged back-to-back, extend your arms overhead and hold hands. Exhale as you lean forward, gently pulling your partner's arms forward and up; she can inhale as you bring her into a gentle backbend. Repeat, of course, by taking your partner's role.
Parivritta Sukhasana II
Sit cross-legged facing your partner, with your knees almost touching hers. Reach your left arm toward your partner's left waist, and reach your right arm behind your own left waist. Join hands with your partner on both sides. Deepen her twist by pulling her right hand with your left. Keep your own right shoulder stable and safe by countering her pull a bit. As with every seated twist, keep length in the front body and keep the pelvis and shoulders level and parallel. Repeat this pose by twisting to the left.
Come to a knee-standing position facing away from your partner. Place your right heel halfway between hers, so all four heels are in a line. Support your lower back with your thumbs and keep your belly engaged, as you slowly lean back to place your head on your partner's right shoulder. The left shoulder is shown in this picture, but the right one is a better choice. Deepen the stretch by pushing your hips forward, while tucking your tailbone down to protect your lower back.
Assisted Fish Pose
Lay on your back with your knees lifted up and together, and your feet on the mat at shoulder width. Have your partner rest her back on your knees, so your knees are at a comfortable height about halfway up the ribcage. You can support her head as she lowers it onto your thighs, and perhaps pull her arms gently to deepen her stretch. Repeat this playing your partner's role.
Forward Bend & Fish
Paschimotanasana & Matsyasana
Sit back-to-back with your legs extended forward and tailbones touching, then simply lower yourself forward while your partner relaxes and moves along with you. You can also reach upward and hold hands before you bend forward, and use that grip to pull her a bit deeper into the stretch.
Child's Pose & Fish
Balasana & Matsyasana
Have your partner rest in child's pose. Sit down on her hips, touching your tailbone to hers and facing away from her. Then slowly lower yourself down so your whole back rests on top of hers. If it's more comfortable to rest higher or lower on her back, then do so. You can extend your arms out to the sides or upward for a deeper chest opener. You can bring your feet in closer and lift your knees a bit if you feel too much stretch in your lower back. This pose can be very soothing for both partners, and a yin-yang breath will suit it well.
Final Relaxation Pose
Lay down in savasana with your head at your partner's feet and your sides close to touching. You can hold hands here, aligning the center of your palm with your partner's. You might also shuffle yourself farther down (i.e. bring your head closer to hers) until you can rest your hand comfortably on your partner's chest, her heart chakra, or another chakra of your choice. Practising this pose together can be very intimate and it isn't suitable for all partners, but if both partners are on board it can forge a strong energetic connection and build feelings of trust. Enjoy!
This is a whole different type of partner yoga, with many possibilities that aren't shown here. To see an advanced practice, check out this acro yoga video. To give it a try, you'll ideally have a few square meters of mat space and a third person to spot you for safety. The stronger partner (the "base") can lie on the floor and raise both legs up to 45°. The more flexible partner (the "flyer") can place her front hips on the base's feet, so the center of each forefoot aligns with the matching iliac crest. The flyer can reach forward/down to join hands with the base, who will bend her knees just slightly and lift the flyer up to balance on her feet. The flyer should keep her front core engaged for support, and her back active for energetic lift. The base should keep her hips and stomach strong and stable; wider elbows can help with lateral weight shifts. Both partners need to trust each other and be very attentive to each other's movements, so this is a great exercise to build teamwork. If a solid balance is achieved, the second partner can release her hands and raise her arms and legs into locust pose. For another foundational pose, the flyer can sit on the base's feet and find a balance (and potentially a backbend) while facing up. If you want to get seriously into acro yoga practice, make sure you do it safely: find a good teacher in your area, and use a spotter every time.
Sit facing your partner about three feet away. Touch your toes and forefeet to your partner's, as shown at the top left. Reach forward and grip your partner's forearms, sync yourselves up and lift all four of your feet off the ground. Raise your shins to be level for a half-boat, or point them upward for a full boat. Keep bringing your navels forward and upward, to stretch your hamstrings and protectyour lower backs. This one's good for communication and plenty of fun.
Wide-Legged Boat Pose
This one's a bit more challenging than the regular boat pose. You can lift your feet into it from the floor, or you can move back forth from narrow to wide legs without touching the mat. Good luck! You can slowly lower and widen your feet to give at least one partner an intense inner leg stretch. You can also grasp hands right-to-right or left-to-left and try for a twist.
Stand facing your partner one arm's length away, and clasp each other's hands. Now lower yourself back into a squat-like position, keeping your toes further forward than your knees. Unlike in regular chair pose, you can bring your shoulders directly over your hips without falling backward, as long as you pull backward evenly with your partner. This'll be a great static hold that'll intensively strengthen your legs - especially if you do moving squats in tandem.
From the regular chair pose, clasp your partner's right hand in your own right, and reach both left hands back. Enjoy a nice deep twist, return carefully to center, smile and repeat on the other side.
Staff Pose & Handstand (Square Pose)
Dandasana & Adho Mukha Vrikshasana
This is one of several ways to work on your handstand with a partner. Both partners can guide their shoulders towards their ribs and their elbows backward, thus bringing their torsos in line with their arms. The top partner can even try a handstand push-up if she's very fit. If she's not quite there yet, she can lower slowly into a tripod headstand, mightily pushing the floor the whole time and landing with her head on a folded mat or cushion.
Staff Pose with Plank
From Square Pose, the handstanding partner walks her hands forward until her torso and legs are in a line, as in Plank Pose. She should keep her head lifted, and her navel pressing firmly toward her spine to exercise her abs and protect her lower back.
Uttanasana & Hasta Vrischikasana
Forward Bend with Handstand Scorpion
This is another example of some fun with partner handstands. The handstanding partner can slowly backbend, tucking her tailbone down to protect her lower back; and she might be able to lift the other leg up to match. Just try not to kick your partner on the way down!
Downward Dog & Handstand
Adho Mukha Svanasana & Adho Mukha Vrikshasana
Have your partner come into downward dog. Plant your hands in front of hers as shown, and lift one leg over her so you're in a forward bend straddling her arms. Bring one foot onto her sacrum, placing it carefully to avoid the movable vertebrae of her lower back. Shift your weight to your arms to keep your legs light, and slowly lift your other foot onto her sacrum as well. Now open your shoulders and walk your hands closer if necessary to align your arms into a handstand. You can also push with your forefeet to bring your partner's front hipbones closer to her knees, thereby deepening her hamstring stretch. For a fun variation, walk closer to your partner and anchor your chest between their shoulder blades. Then lift your legs up and over your head, so you're in handstand scorpion with your partner giving you balance.
Extended Forward Leg Pose
Stand facing each other, one leg's length away, with your partner's left hip in front of your own. Raise your right leg into your parter's left hand, and balance there with your knee straight and your foot flexed. You can bend your elbow to deepen your partner's stretch, and possibly lift her foot onto your shoulder; but for proper alignment all of your knees should stay straight. For a more challenging balance, stand with your right arm in front your partner's right leg, and lift your right leg up into her hand.
Supported Wheel Pose
Salamba Urdhva Dhanurasana
This pose feels wonderful and is one of my all-time favorites. Stand facing your partner and hold hands, with your right in her left and vice versa. Swing your arms up and to the right, leading your partner and turning so you're standing back-to-back. Reach upward and outward, bringing your partner in close and touching your tailbone just above hers. It may take some practice to get the height right. Now pull her up and forward as you move your hips back, taking her weight onto you with your knees slightly bent. If you bend your knees too far, you'll need lots of leg strength for the lift; you can have your partner stand on blocks if she's too far down to comfortably lift. When you feel her become balanced, straighten your knees without locking them and lean a bit further forward as shown. If the position is right she can completely relax, and you may be able to release her hands as well.
Supine Leg Raises
Utthita Urdhva Padasana
Lay down on your back as shown, your body fully extended with the crown of your head touching your partner's. Reach your hands toward her shoulders and take a gentle grip. Bring your feet together, straighten your knees and lengthen out your heels; then push your navel towards the floor as you lift both legs up in sync with your partner. Move more slowly up and down for a greater strengthening effect.
Parsva Virabhadrasana II
Come into a Warrior 2 stance, facing away from your partner with your left shins (or calves) touching. Lift your right arm up, lengthening the right side of your torso and shortening (not compressing) the left. Continue reaching up and back until you touch your partner's hand; hold hands and reach further up to increase the stretch. If you can't reach your partner's hand, slide your feet away from or toward her until you can. Of course, repeat this pose on the other side.
Rock, Pivot & Roll
Sit on the floor with your knees pointing upward and bent. Have your partner sit beside you in the same way, but facing the opposite direction, so your hips line up with her feet and vice versa. If your partner is on your right, reach your right arm under her legs and hold her left hand. This is the starting position.
From here, keep your grip on your partner as you rock back onto your upper back. Before you roll forward, pivot your body 90° around your upper back, toward the direction where your partner was sitting. Then roll forward to enter a mirror image of the starting position, with your partner sitting on your left and your left arm under her legs holding her hand. Roll back and forth like this a few times and have some fun.
Savasana & Phalakasana
Come into Plank Pose with your feet beside your partner's shoulders, and your palms facing down beside her feet. Take care to keep your navel pressing in towards your spine, and your tailbone tucked in to lengthen your lower back. Your body should be as straight as a plank. You can play with walking on your hands, doing push-ups in tandem, or resting your shoulders on her lifted knees for a more pop-cultured version of "planking".
Supine Hero Sit-ups
Supta Vajrasana sit-ups
Begin in Supta Vajrasana, an intermediate-level pose that's best learned from a teacher. Have your partner anchor your knees firmly, then tuck your tailbone down, firm up your stomach, and lift! It won't be easy, but reaching towards your feet will make it easier; reaching overhead will make it very hard. Do not allow your lower back to arch as you lift. If an upward motion is too difficult, gain strength by moving down through the same motion as slowly as possible with proper form.
Forward Bend & Handstand
Uttanasana & Adho Mukha Vrikshasana
Begin in forward bend facing your partner, lift one foot onto her hips, and follow with the other foot. Check that your wrists are directly below your shoulders, your elbows straight but not locked, and your shoulder blades and armpits hugged into your body. Your partner can turn around either way; if she's facing away, you can use your feet to guide her sacro-iliac joints down and increase her stretch.
Forward Bend & Plank
Uttanasana & Phalakasana
This version of plank pose gives more strengthening power to the arms. Push-ups and hand-walking can be pretty challenging and beneficial here too. Also feel free to lift up into side plank, bring one leg up at a time, or do any other plank variation you like.
Standing Shoulder Opener
Utthita Hasta Ardha Uttanasana
First stand with your arms reaching forward, and your hands on each other's shoulders. Walk backwards, keeping your arms and legs long, until your torsos and arms are in a level line. Keep your arms actively reaching as you bring your chest downward, creating a nice stretch in your shoulders.
Warrior 3 with Shoulder Opener
Utthita Hasta Virabhadrasana III
From the previous pose, ground your left foot and shift your weight onto it. Lift up your right foot and reach it back, lifting at the hip and with the foot pointed and knee straight. For a more challenging balance, lift up your left foot while your partner lifts her right.
The previous pose can also be done at a greater distance, which will make balancing slightly tougher. However, it still tends to be easier than doing the full pose on your own. Stand facing each other and join hands in a handshake. Now step backward and farther backward, leaning forward in the process until both torsos and the extended arms are parallel to the floor. Finally raise either leg until it's level as well. Revolving into stacked hips for half moon pose is pretty hard on the hip joint, but revolved half moon with level hips is safe and it's close by. Dancer's pose is not far away either.
Seated Forward Bend
Sit facing each other with your legs extended forward, and the soles of your feet together. Reach forward and grasp your partner's fingers, of if you're more flexible grab her wrists, elbows or shoulders. You can take turns pulling each other forward, without being overly aggressive. If you have lower back pain or stiffness, keep your lower back engaged so your vertebrae don't expand too much at the back. Relax, smile and enjoy the pose.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
For a wide-legged forward bend, have your partner sit with her straight legs wide apart with her knees straight and her feet pointing up. Place your feet against her inner lower thighs, or inside her heels if she's more flexible, and gently but firmly pull her towards you.
Head To Knee / Revolved Head to Knee
(Parivritta) Janu Sirsasana
Enter Janu Sirsasana; sit with one leg extended, each hip as far forward as the other, and the sole of your foot against your inner knee. Have your partner do the same so the soles of your feet touch, then join both hands and pull each other forward as in the last two poses. From here you can twist your torsos, so your straight leg's shoulder moves below your bent leg's shoulder, and the straight leg's hand reaches to the bent knee. Enjoy a deep luxurious stretch here.
Sit your partner on the floor in bound angle pose, with her knees apart and the soles of her feet together in front. You can take the same pose facing her and pulling her forward, as in the previous three forward bends. You can also kneel behind her, gently guide her knees downward and slightly towards you, and press forward on your lower back with your chest or shoulder. For a more aggressive stretch requiring more balance from you and flexibility from her, you can stand and place your hands on her shoulders, then carefully step onto her inner legs. Keep most of your weight on her shoulders, and lower your heels a bit to guide her inner thighs back and her front thighs down.
Bound Angle & Down Dog
Baddha Konasana & Adho Mukha Svanasana
You can also assist your partner's bound angle by taking downward dog pose behind her. The trick is to rotate her hips the right way, by bringing your palms downward rather than forward. Positioning yourself in front of your partner will make this easier and more natural. Enjoy.
Assisted Backbends with Boat
Ustrasana/Dandasana/Padmasana & Navasana
Your partner can sit in a variety of positions, including on her heels in Diamond Pose, cross-legged in Easy Pose, or up on her knees in Camel Pose. Place your forefeet on her back with your big toes between her shoulder blades to start. Have her reach back and take hold of her hands, keeping her palms facing away from each other. Gently lean back to stretch her shoulders, as you press forward with your feet to massage her back and further open her chest. You can slowly bend one knee and then the other in a 'walking' motion, or place your toes and forefeet in different places beside the spine. This move is difficult to learn well online, so pay close attention to what your partner likes and handle her with care.
Cobra with Chair
Bhujangasana w/ Utkatasana
Have your partner lay prone on the floor, and stand straddling her. Have her lift her head and shoulders and reach her hands back, palms facing out, for you to hold. Pull her upward and backward, being sensitive to her limits and staying gentle but firm. You can also squat down on her legs for more stability and a somewhat gentler stretch.
Assisted Bow Pose
Have your partner take Bow Pose or Dhanurasana, an intermediate pose that's best learned from a teacher. The standard alignment would have her knees level with her shoulders, and her center of gravity in place around her navel. In this variation, you give her an intense heart-opening stretch by mindfully sitting on her soles to anchor her knees, and gently guiding her shoulders open and back. As always, listen well to her body and don't overdo it, but have a fun time.
Stand back-to-back with your feet fairly wide. Point your right foot and her left on off to your right, and turn your left foot/her right one slightly inward. Lift all of your straight arms up, then reach ahead to your right/her left as you lower your right/her left hip down. Finally bring your hands to your shin or the floor to take triangle pose. You can also flow into Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II) or Side Angle Pose (Parsva Konasana) from here. If you find you're knocking each other off balance, simply step a little farther away. For a fun transition from here, check out the next pose.
From Triangle Pose, perform a synchronized movement of your hips and both of your arms as follows. Turn your hips to face toward your pointed foot; bring your lower hands backward, between you and your partner and up; and bring your upper hands down towards your pointed foot. This is a fairly challenging pose in terms of spinal and hip flexibility, but holding it and coming into it are both a lot of fun.
Standing Forward Bend
Start standing back to back, a few inches away from your partner. Fold forward from your hips, lifting your sitting bones upward and reaching your sternum down towards the floor. Smile at your upside-down partner and hold hands or elbows if you like. You can also do this pose facing away from your partner, bringing your upper backs together to touch. This'll let you lean your weight forward into each other and relax a little more deeply.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
The previous pose can also be done with your feet planted wide and pointed forward. Again bend from the hips to bring your front hipbones down. A playful tug-of-war here will deepen the stretch for both of you. It'll also force you to keep length in your front body, so your lower back will engage and be protected and the stretch will stay in your inner legs and rear thighs. Enjoy it and smile.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend & Boat
Prasarita Padottanasana & Navasana
These two pose combine beautifully. If you're in boat pose, you can guide your partner's sitting bones upward to deepen her stretch. Too much pressure on a fully stretched hamstring can be strenuous, so push upward with your toes, not forward with your heels. Each partner can lengthen her front body, keeping her chest open and stretching her legs and pelvis.
Stand facing each other, grasp your partner's fingers or forearms or elbows, and slowly lean backward into the pose. Support your lower back with your core muscles and work on opening your chest; drop your head back if it's comfortable for your neck. Squeeze hands to signal a finish, and pull each other slowly forward to exit the pose.
You can play with distance and positioning here, and try different standing balances like Eagle Pose or Dancer Pose if you like. In the back-to-back tree, you can guide your partner's bent knee downward and backward to deepen her stretch. You can also try wobbling or swaying to challenge you partner's kinesthetic communication and focus. It's a fun pose to play with.
In this pose, the partner on top should be well warmed-up and free of lower back problems, as it can be strenuous stretch. Come into plank facing your partner's feet, and have her lift up your knees in her hands. Lower slowly (slowly!) into the backbend, pressing your belly in, tucking your tailbone down, and opening your chest and ribs. To come out, have your partner carefully lower your knees, or (if you've got a strong front core) return to plank pose by bringing your ribs toward your pelvis and lengthening your lower back. Rest in Child's Pose when you're done.
Assisted King Pigeon
Salamba Raj Kapotasana
Have your partner take Pigeon Pose, learning it from a good teacher if need be. One simple way to assist is by holding up her weight so she can relax more fully into the pose. This will allow her to release more fully and go more deeply into the stretch. You can also pull her farther than she'd be able to go on her own; just be mindful and stop at the point where her joints and ligaments limit the stretch.
Bridge & Supported Shoulderstand
Setu Bandhasana & Sarvangasana
Have your partner take Bridge Pose, preferably with her hands under her hips and fingers and thumbs pointing outward. Take your own bridge pose, with your shins outside hers and your hands holding her ankles. Now walk your soles onto her thighs near her knees, and lift up your hips so you come into a Shoulderstand. You can stretch yourself further by walking closer to her knees and lifting your hips further up, and you can lift your legs back into Plow Pose as well.
Chair & Shoulderstand
Utkatasana & Sarvangasana
Have your partner lay on her back with her knees and feet lifted up. Walk your feet in close to her hips, have her take hold of your heels, and have her place her soles on your lower thighs. Take hold of her knees and anchor her soles firmly into your legs; then sit back into Chair Pose as you guide her knees upward and she lifts her hips. This will magically bring her into a Shoulderstand.
Melting Heart & Table Pose
Anahatasana & Sandharasana
Come into Table Pose, with your head towards your partner's head and your shoulders one arm's length from hers. Reach one arm forward and place it on her shoulder, followed by the other arm; then guide your chest downward to open your shoulders and heart. Take turns doing this, and feel free to reach either leg backward for a balance if you like.
Thank you for visiting and enjoy your yoga!