Best Yoga Poses and Equipment to Take Your Yoga Sessions to the Next Level

Best Yoga Poses and Equipment to Take Your Yoga Sessions to the Next Level
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Yoga is one of the most popular practices in the world of fitness and well-being and it’s no surprise as to why! After all, it can be a really fun way to improve strength, flexibility and posture in addition to improving mental health as well!

It sounds like the perfect hobby to have right? But what if we told you this is usually solo activity and be taken to the next level by involving someone else!

You may have heard of couple yoga, also known as partner yoga and are probably looking for some great poses to try with your significant other or best friend, which is why you’re here!

And if the two of you are already quite experienced, you can try out AcroYoga, which is when the poses are more challenging and acrobatic.

Whether that is your case or not, you will be able to find poses of different levels of difficulty so everyone can enjoy them and in the process, strengthen their relationships on as well as off the mat!

As for other benefits of couple yoga, it is able to reduce stress, improve breathing and increase muscle tone. Besides, it’s so much fun!

In other words, anyone who is looking to work on themselves on the outside and on the inside while also bonding with their partner or bestie should give couple yoga a real try!

Just keep in mind that if you are not careful, you might end up suffering injuries so make sure to stretch before and practice proper communication with your yoga partner in order to make sure that both of you remain safe and comfortable.

Naturally, as you can imagine, each of these poses involves a lot of trust and communication.

In fact, by practicing couple yoga more often, you two will end up improving these aspects, strengthening your connection.

At first, the poses or the idea of partner yoga in itself can be scary or at least awkward but, as mentioned before, some of the beginner poses can be really simple so don’t let any of that stop you from trying it out with that special someone.

All you have to do is ask, grab a mat and then let all of these great benefits and the fun come into your life!

But before that, check out this guide to learn more so you are prepared and informed.

More precisely, you will learn about more benefits, what you need for a perfect couple yoga session but also some of the most popular poses in increasing order of their difficulty.

Benefits

– Increasing Vulnerability

It’s not a secret that many people nowadays tend to struggle a little with a sense of intimacy and letting go.

And it can, indeed, be really hard to be vulnerable and share some personal parts of us with others especially since social media makes it feel like everyone lives perfect lives.

But couple yoga can really help with that barrier, helping people form stronger bonds and trust each other more.

– Strengthening Connections

As mentioned above, couple yoga is unsurprisingly a great way for close people to become even closer and get to know each other on an even deeper level.

While opening ourselves up to all that fun, more accountability is also built since we need that other person to even do this practice.

And through some unavoidable but hilarious mess-ups and a little embarrassment from time to time, you will be able to learn together with that other person and connect with them emotionally, mentally and physically.

– Engaging with Your Intuition

– Get a better stretch than during solo yoga sessions

– Strengthen your shoulders, legs, joints and core.

Couple Yoga vs. Acro Yoga

 

Partner yoga, most commonly known as couple yoga, simply refers to all yoga poses that require two people working together in harmony.

That being said, you will be pleased to learn that there are hundreds of poses out there that are more than doable even by the most inexperienced of practitioners.

On the other hand, Acro Yoga is the more advanced version of couple yoga as it involves more acrobatic and “flying” poses.

They usually involve one person on the ground acting as the base while the other gets lifted off into the air.

Before you try out any of the poses featured here, remember that you should never force it too much.

After all, everyone has different levels of flexibility so make sure not to ever force your body in a pose that just doesn’t feel right for your body or you might end up injuring yourself or your partner.

If something does happen and you experience persisting pain, make sure to contact a medical specialists immediately.

The Warm Up

Like with any other form of physical exercise, its best that you warm up your muscles before attempting couple yoga so make sure you and your partner do some light exercise and then let the real fun begin!

Cold muscles can lead to injury so never skip the warm up part!

Not to mention that warm muscles are also able to stretch farther so you are more likely to be successful when trying out the poses.

All you need to do is 5 to 10 minutes of exercises like start jumps, jogging, heel kicks or skipping, all of which are more than enough to get the blood pumping and your body ready for more challenging exercise.

Couple Yoga Poses

Here are some great yoga poses for two, some more challenging than others. The first few are easy enough to be attempted by pretty much anyone, even beginners or could be great warm ups for the more experienced yogis out there before moving on to more advanced poses.

  1. Partner Seated Cat-Cow

This is the ideal pose to start any yoga session with your partner in crime, especially since it works great as a warm up for your breath and spine.

That being said, you can try syncing your breaths together, already cultivating some teamwork and harmony in preparation for the more difficult poses.

As for how to achieve this pose, all you need to do is sit cross legged while facing each other and making sure your knees are touching.

Next, you need to grab each other’s forearms, one with their hands on top of elbows and the other with their hands beneath.

To explore the trust you share when leaning back, proceed to rock back and forth a little.

Inhale together and then slide your shoulders down the back while arching your spine similar to the floor cat pose, pushing your chests towards one another.

Then exhale and round your spines forward into a C-shape, using the now linked forearms to brace against each other while sucking your stomachs in.

Finally, lean back until you feel a good stretch.

  1. Twin trees

The twin trees pose is great for improving balance and posture as well as opening up the hips.

As for how to do it, you need to start by standing next to each other, shoulder to shoulder, your feet level with your hips.

Plant your inside legs into the floor, spread your toes and put all your weight on that foot.

Then lift the other leg slowly, bending the knee and placing the foot on the inside of your calf or even thigh if you are comfortable enough with the balance you’d achieved.

Just try to avoid putting your foot right against the knee as it will put too much pressure against the joint.

As for the arms, you can hold each other’s together or just in front of you, the latter of which is a bit easier.

But if you are looking for a bigger challenge, you can also raise your arms above your head.

This is a pretty popular pose for solo yoga as well but doing it with a partner can really help you work on your balance since you can steady each other through the process like this.

  1. Seated Forward Fold with Partner

This modification of paschimottanasana is great for warning up and releasing your hamstrings and lower back.

Furthermore, there are actually several different modifications you can try in order to match both of your flexibility levels.

Start by facing one another with the legs in a straddle position or a wide V, touching feet.

If you are different heights, make sure to adjust your legs’ width in order to accommodate that gap.

Sit facing each other with your legs in a straddle position (wide V) position, touching feet

If you are different heights, adjust the width of your legs to accommodate

Then press the bottoms of your feet against each other and take hold of the other person’s forearms, creating a comfortable grip, not too tight.

Start rocking back and forth slowly, alternating, one person leaning back while the other folds forward slowly.

Remain in position until you can feel your hamstrings warm up and then switch positions, alternating the forward leaning and back leaning positions.

Ensure that you communicate with your partner so they know how much they need to lean back to pull you forward gently.

Repeat as many times as you’d like, slowly opening the stretch for both of you.

  1. Temple

The Temple is a perfect pose if you are looking for something that helps with opening up the chest and the shoulders.

Start by facing each other while standing, with your feet hip width apart.

Inhale and extend your arms over your head before hinging forward at the hips gently until you and your partner meet hands.

Then, once you’ve achieved this positions, start folding forward, bringing your elbows, forearms and hands to meet your partner’s in the middle.

Try to put equal weight against each other and push against the other person’s arms and hands, releasing your chests towards the ground while doing this.

Hold for a few breaths and start walking towards each other, bring your torso to an upright position before letting your arms back down.

  1. Double Downward Dog

The Double Downward Dog position has restorative properties and is able to lengthen the spine while also improving your focus.

As for how to do it, one partner starts in the downward dog pose while the other one faces in the same direction and places their hands in front of the other.

They then lift their legs up slowly, placing their feet against partner number 1’s back.

You could either step your feet onto the other’s back from the side or by starting close by in front of the other person in down dog, stepping your feet onto their lower back before walking your hands in as well, strengthening the legs to do the down dog pose.

If this sounds too complicated for your current level, no worries as we have a modified version you could try out first as well!

The modified version involves partner no. 1 starting in child’s pose instead as partner no. 2 stands at an arms’ length away.

Partner no. 1 is then supposed to stretch their arms out, firmly grabbing partner no. 2’s ankles.

Partner no. 2 bends at their hips and places their hands against the other’s back, trying to keep their legs as straight as possible in order to copy the downward dog position.

  1. Back-To-Back Twist

This is a great gentle twist that can also be used as a seated warm up with your partner.

To achieve this pose, you can use the other person’s knee in order to leverage your back deeper.

The best part of doing this pose is the fact that it is super easy to keep your spine straight throughout thanks to the support provided by your partner.

As for how do achieve the pose, here are the steps:

  • Start by sitting back to back with your legs crossed
  • Lengthen your spines together while inhaling slowly
  • Then exhale and twist and spiral around together.
  • Now both partners can put their right hand on their own right knee.
  • With the left hand, reach behind you to grab the other person’s right thigh.
  • Use gentle pressure to brace both of your backs straight right against each other and also use the legs to twist a little deeper, as far as it’s not too painful or uncomfortable.
  • Hold as much as you please and then switch sides, all the while communicating with the other person to ensure you are both comfortable.
  1. Double Plank

This pose is actually more challenging than it looks but it’s worth it since it is able to improve your core as well as your overall strength. Plus, it’s fun!

Here’s how to achieve this pose:

  • First, one person starts by getting in the plank positions.
  • The second person can then grab the other partner’s ankles before stepping up and placing their feet onto their shoulders, basically making a reverse plank pose on top of them.
  • As mentioned before, this pose looks easier than it actually is so it’s normal to struggle at first. With that being said, if this is your case, you can try out a modified version.

Modified version instructions:

  • The base partner lies on their back on the floor.
  • The other partner can then place their hands on the floor on either side of the other’s ankles.
  • The base partner can then proceed to grab their partner’s ankles before strengthening their arms and bringing them to a plank position.
  • The modified version is still very efficient as long as you don’t forget to squeeze your core really tightly.

8. Square pose

The Square pose is able to stretch the hamstrings as well as the lower back while also opening up the shoulders.

Achieving this fun couple pose is quite easy in theory but that’s not say it’s not still really challenging.

All you have to do is start in the modified plank position mentioned before this, at number 8 before the base partner sits up, raising their arms above their head.

As for the top partner, they are supposed to simultaneously bend at the hips, creating the square shape that this pose is named after.

Of you want to challenge yourselves even more, try to do as many sit ups are you can while in this pose.

All in all, you’ll definitely have a few laughs while also really working on your core strength in the meantime.

9. Double Dancer

The Dancer is one of those poses that are easy to do and which get better with a partner.

This is because you can help each other balance while opening up the spine and heart.

Steps:

  • Begin by facing each other while standing at the opposite ends of the mat.
  • As you inhale, both you and your partner should lift up your left arms towards the sky before reaching towards each other.
  • Grab hold of each other’s shoulder and link your arms together.
  • Shift your weight into the left leg.
  • Bend your right knee as you grab the inner arch of your same foot.
  • Kick your right foot back slowly and lean forward at the same time, achieving the dancer pose while you and your partner are still linking arms, successfully helping each other keep balanced.
  • Try to hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.
  • Try to open the spine into a deeper arch and also kick the back glute further up.
  • Finally, release the pose by lowering the back leg back down before letting go of each other’s arm.

10. Reverse Warrior II with Partner

The Reverse Warrior II pose is another great yoga pose you can try with a partner and it even crates some heart shaped body art like this as long as you are able to lengthen the side of your body.

It is a great pose for grounding yourself as well as cultivating a really strong connection with your partner.

Instructions:

  • Start in Warrior 2 position with your knees bent away from one another and the hips aligned forward.
  • Your partner’s back foot side blade should push against the other person, grounding you and making sure that the arch of the foot is not collapsing inwards.
  • Rest your back hand on the thigh.
  • As you inhale at the same time, lift the front arm up.
  • Then exhale as you move into reverse warrior, stretching your side as much as possible as you slide your back hand down your thigh.
  • The top hands of you and your partner should reach for each other, the goal being to interlace your fingers, do a combination prayer pose or at least touch fingertips.
  • Finally, exhale out of the pose and repeat on the other side.

11. Balancing Warrior III Yoga Pose with Partner

This is another pose that is much easier when done with a partner than when alone.

This is because you can hold the balance for a longer time and god deeper with the help of the other person.

That’s not to say it’s the easiest thing in the world!

After all, you need to sync your movements together without being able to see each other, which is obviously quite tricky but this is where your communication comes into play!

Do not hesitate to talk each other through it! What a fun bonding exercise!

Steps:

  • Start facing each other, arms stretched out, touching your fingertips.
  • Then stretch your arms overhead, palms facing your partner’s.
  • Your arms should remain straight as you hinge at the hips, reaching a 90° angle.
  • Then proceed to grab your partner’s biceps, adjusting your distance if needed.
  • Go on and shift your weight into the right leg as you lift the left leg behind into a Warrior III yoga pose.
  • Make sure to engage your core, looking down to extend the neck all the while taking deep breaths.
  • Finally, place the lifted leg down again and repeat on the opposing side!

12. Supported Backbend Yoga Pose

If this is not the first time you’re trying yoga, you know how tricky backbend poses can be!

That being said, the supported version is actually a little easier, allowing you to go deeper and not risk hurting your spine!

Steps:

  • Begin by facing your partner, with your feet flat on the yoga mat and your toes touching.
  • Then proceed to grab each other’s forearms.
  • To protect your lower back, make sure to engage the glutes before inhaling while lengthening the spine.
  • As you exhale, start to arch backwards, looking behind you, releasing your neck.
  • Make sure to pull against each other slightly, bracing slowly until you feel like you can completely trust to release your back fully against their arms’ leverage.
  • Finally, hold the position for a few deep breaths before releasing, engaging the core and glutes as you return to a standing position.

Equipment you need for couple yoga!

Obviously, knowing how to do all of these great couple yoga poses is a good thing as you have a few ideas for the session now.

However, you should also make sure you have all the necessary equipment, especially if you are planning on trying everything out at home!

The great thing about yoga, couple or not, is that you don’t need much when compared to other branches of fitness.

Still, you should still at least get the basics but also, if you want to take the experience to the next level, there are plenty of useful and fun accessories you can check out as well!

Some yoga equipment pieces can really enhance the experience but also help you stay injury free, improve your alignment and modify some more difficult poses as well!

At the same time, you will still be able to enjoy your practice and remain comfortable throughout the session.

Of course, if you are a beginner, you may only want the basics in the beginning but even those, it’s good to have a good understanding of what you need in order to make an informed purchase.

But, as you get better and better, you should also consider investing into more quality equipment that will last you longer and improve the overall experience as well.

  1. Yoga Mat

As you can imagine, any yoga mat can do its job at the end of the day but a good quality one will take your experience to the next level!

After all, some mats are not anti-slip so you’ll struggle to stay in pose, your palms and feet slipping all the time.

This could even cause you and your partner, in the case of couple yoga, to injure yourselves and that is obviously not the outcome you want.

A poor quality yoga mat makes everything unnecessarily difficult as well as dangerous so consider investing in a high quality one that you can rely on for a long time.

Not only will it prevent you from slipping even when sweating profusely but you will also find that it is more comfortable as well thanks to the extra cushioning and thickness.

Source: Unsplash

But, of course, if you prefer to go to a studio to practice yoga, you should also pick one that is light enough to carry around with relative ease.

Here are some tips you should know before picking your idea yoga mat:

  • Consider the level of firmness. Some people like firmer mats made out of rubber as it provides some extra stability while doing more advanced poses. At the same time, however, softer mats made from PVC have more cushion for joint support and are lighter and therefore easier to carry around to and fro the studio!
  • If you can, make sure to test the mat in a physical shop, especially if it’s the first time you buy it. More precisely, try Downward Dog to check the grip and Low Lunge to check the cushioning and joint support. After testing it out and deciding on your favorite, you can then order it online where you are likely to find more accessible prices.
  • Before buying a mat, make a list of requirements and do not let yourself be swayed by other models. After all, there are way too many options out there so don’t get distracted and fooled into purchasing something you didn’t really want.
  1. Yoga Blocks


No matter if you are a beginner or an expert when it comes to yoga, owning some yoga blocks can still be really useful for whenever you wish to modify your poses, improve balance and support the right alignment.

And that’s not all! It also helps with practicing more advanced poses without the risk of getting injured by overstretching or doing the pose with the wrong alignment.

For example, the one-legged pigeon pose is a great hip opener when it’s done correctly but most can’t do it properly in the beginning.

That being said, in this case, they can prop up the hip of the front leg, allowing the beginners to do the pose without hurting their back or hip.

Another more difficult pose, chaturanga, and others similar to it can be done with yoga blocks placed under the shoulders, helping the practitioner to remain up without sinking into their shoulder blades.

Here are some tips on how to pick the best yoga blocks:

  • Pick the right material for you between foam, wooden and cork.

Foam – These are light, portable but more cushiony. They are great for poses that require you to put your body weight on the block without causing pain or discomfort.

Wooden – These blocks are firm and do not have any give, reason for which many teachers prefer them. At the same time, they are heavier and less portable as a result.

Cork – If you are looking for something in between the aforementioned materials, choose cork blocks a they are able to provide more support while also remaining quite portable.

  • Consider the height you need for your yoga blocks. The standard height is 4 inches but there you can also find others ranging between 3 and 5 inches depending on your unique needs.
  1. Yoga Strap

This is one of the most versatile tools out there and is useful to pretty much everyone, whether they are beginners or experts.

Furthermore, it’s a super lightweight, compact yoga accessory so you’ll never have to worry about it not fitting in your gym bag.

But what does a yoga strap even do?

  • It improves alignment which is really useful for those who have tight muscles. By using one of these, you will be able to do a pose correctly and comfortably without compromising your alignment or overstretching your muscles. For instance, when seated forward fold, place a strap around the feet and pull to reach forward without rounding your shoulders or back.
  • Provides stability for arm balances as well as inversions. As you may or may not know, a few arm balances and inversions require the elbows to remain in line with the shoulders but many people tend to spread the elbows out. That being said, to prevent that from happening, all you have to do is create a loop with the yoga strap, adjusting it to shoulder width and wrapping it around the upper arms.

Yoga straps are really simple tools so you may think that there shouldn’t be much struggle involved when it comes to choosing one to buy.

In reality, however, there are still many straps with different styles, sizes and materials to pick from on the market. Regardless, you will be pleased to find out that no matter which one you end up buying, you can’t really go wrong.

Still, if you want to make sure to pick the one most suitable for your unique needs, here are some tips on what to look for!

  • Length. Make sure there is enough strap length to hold onto without any discomfort, especially if you are planning on using it in a loop. While the majority of people out there can use the 6 to 8 feet straps without a problem, taller people will benefit from picking a longer one.
  • Closure. The most common types of closures are buckles and

Buckles allow you to adjust the length super quickly and quick release, plastic ones will also make little noise when hitting the floor. On the other hand, those that feature metal D-Rings are loud enough to disrupt you practice but are easier to adjust between each pose.

Loops don’t need to be adjusted and ensure a smooth transition between each pose so it’s safe to say that they are generally much more convenient than buckles.

  • While most yoga straps are made out of cotton due to the fact that it is durable, grippy and easy to clean, some beginners may find them a bit rough in the beginning. If you think this is the case for you are well, you can go for straps made out of other natural materials or even nylon.
  1. Yoga Bolster, Cushions and Pillows

If you prefer Restorative, Yin, or seated practices, you may benefit a lot from a good yoga bolster, cushion or pillow!

This is because they can provide a lot of comfortable support during such practices.

In fact, they come with quite a few amazing benefits, including:

  • Better leg circulation. Naturally, when you hold a seated position for a long time the legs may start getting numb or even ache. To prevent that, make sure you have a pillow or a bolster to help elevate the hips and encourage a better alignment.
  • Chest opening. Lying down lengthwise on a bolster can really aid in gently opening up the chest, shoulders and neck. And while you can use yoga blocks for this purpose as well, bolsters are usually much more comfortable.
  • Better alignment support. Usually, blocks and straps are used for this purpose but bolsters can really provide you with more support for backbends or restoration so keep that in mind.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a variety of different designs to choose from.

  • Standard. The most common bolsters are either rectangular or cylindrical and measure between 25 and 29 inches in length. Cylindrical ones are better for supported backbends and usually have a larger diameter as well. On the other hand, rectangular bolsters are more stable thanks to the flat surfaces and lower heights, which means they are more useful for forward folds.
  • Zafu meditation cushion. These are Japanese style inspired cushions and usually filled with buckwheat and kapok. They have a round shape and can be more or less stuffed in order to make them more or less firm. They often have really pretty embroidery and patterns.
  • Zabuton. This is a rectangular, wide cushion, usually filled with cotton. Many people tend to use Zabutons with zafus to perfectly cushion the hips, knees and feet.
  • V-shaped or crescent cushion. These are the ideal choice for those who need more support for the hip and thighs while in a sitting pose. This is because this type of cushion slopes downwards towards the legs, supporting the thighs and helping the pelvis to align in the proper direction. It’s the perfect choice for people whose hips rotate a lot externally.
  1. Essential Oil Candles or Diffusers

Finally, to take your yoga practice to the next level, you may need something to make the space smell nice!

This will help the body as well as the mind relax and focus on the poses. Not to mention the great vibe it will add to your home studio!

Some essential oils are quite common when doing yoga, including Lavender and other pleasant scents.

That being said, a good aromatherapy diffuser or essential oil candles are the perfect yoga purchase, especially if you are someone who deals with a lot of anxiety or stress.

For instance, you can use Bergamot to help you distress, Eucalyptus for increased immunity and Lavender if you want a good night’s sleep!

But, of course, there are many selections to choose from and once you decide on one, or a few, you can start reaping all the benefits!

One thing to keep in mind is that you should use ultrasonic diffusers rather than essential oil burners.

This is because ultrasonic diffusers use electronic frequencies to vibrate and cause an effect like boiling water but without all the heat.

Through this vibration, the oils get broken into microparticles which are then released into the air in the form of mist.

Not only that but they are easy to clean, are super durable and come in many esthetically pleasing designs!

Most of them also have light functions so you can make your studio even vibier – or even use it as a night light!

But if, for whatever reason, you’d rather not get a diffuser, another great option is a scented candle!

Scented candles are really accessible and easy to find and there are so many scent options as well.

Furthermore, you can choose a traditional candle or a more environmentally friendly version with LED lights!


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Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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