10 yoga poses for two people: how to do couples yoga
We spoke to a yoga instructor for all her tips and tricks for our ultimate guide to couples yoga, featuring ten of the best yoga poses for two people.
If you’re looking for new ways to strengthen your connections with friends, family, or romantic partners, the answer might lie in couples yoga. This paired practice, also known as partner yoga, is a great way to deepen bonds and help both involved to embark on a shared journey of physical, mental, and spiritual development.
As well as helping enhance the regular benefits of yoga, couples yoga also offers partners the chance to improve several extra aspects of their holistic well-being. But where to start, and what poses are best for couples?
Here at The Recommended, we’ve got you covered. With the help of a yoga instructor, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions surrounding couples yoga. She has helped us explore what couples yoga is, its benefits, and the 10 best yoga poses for couples.
Our yoga couples expert
To help us understand couples yoga in more depth, we have the help of a yoga instructor, Anna Brittle. She has over 20 years of experience teaching yoga and currently instructs fifteen classes a week.
Anna teaches clients privately as well as running several yoga classes at both Gymbox and The Gym Group and has experience in partner yoga and regularly gets her classes to pair up and practise coupled poses. She has helped us explain the benefits of coupled yoga and provided some great poses for partners to try.
What is couples yoga?
Couples yoga is also commonly referred to as partner yoga and is a practice where two people come together to engage in shared yoga poses and postures as a pair.
Anna explained that “although it might sound romantic, couples yoga is performed by any two people regardless of their relationship, which means it is common for friends, family, and married couples to enjoy it”.
The tandem exercise can be performed by any prospective yogi depending on the preferences and skill levels of both involved. It can take many forms, with varieties ranging from gentle and meditative to more active and dynamic sessions.
Reasons for people taking up couples yoga often centre around their search for feelings of shared experience, communication, and connection. It involves trust, cooperation, and mutual support, so it’s great for the strengthening of all relationship types.
Couples yoga is also great for beginners to try, and if you want to learn more about yoga before asking to do the exercise with a partner, check out our guide to the best yoga poses for beginners or our guide to why you should start practising yoga.
10 best yoga poses for couples
You’ve found a friend, family member, or partner of any kind who wants to do yoga with you, but what poses should you start with? Anna helped outline 10 of the best yoga poses for couples to try, here they are:
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1. Partner forward fold
Anna shared that the partner forward fold is “a great place for beginners to start”. The pose helps deepen the hamstring and lower back stretch, which a normal forward fold would provide. Here’s how to do it:
- Stand back-to-back with your partner.
- Both extend your bodies, reaching your arms up to touch hands above your heads.
- Inhale, lengthen the spine, and as you exhale, fold forward reaching for your feet.
- Then reach behind your legs to hold your partner's hands or forearms.
- Use each other to increase the stretch by pulling each other closer to your legs.
2. Double tree pose
According to Anna, this pose is great for partners who want to enhance their balance, focus, and trust. It stretches the inner thighs and calves, here’s how to do it:
- Start by standing face to face with each other.
- Place one of your feet on your opposite calf or inner thigh.
- Extend your arms overhead, interlocking your fingers and pressing your palms together.
- Find balance together and hold for a few seconds.
- Switch your feet and perform the same exercise.
3. Double downward dog
The double downward dog provides a gentle stretch to the shoulders, hamstrings, and calves, Anna explained that this pose is useful for partners wanting to build strength and communication skills. You need to know how to do the downward dog to do this pose, so if you don’t know how to, then see our guide to it here. Here’s how to do it:
- Start with one partner facing away and the other looking at their back.
- You should be close enough to touch their shoulders.
- Begin by getting into a downward-facing dog pose.
- The partner in front should walk their feet closer to the one behind until heels align with hands.
- Then slowly walk your feet up their back, starting from the shoulders until you reach the bum.
- When at the bum, you should both be in downward dog.
- Get down safely and swap positions.
4. Seated twist
Anna says that this pose is one of the simplest that couples can attempt, so it’s perfect for beginners. It increases spinal mobility and releases tension in the back, here’s how to do it:
- Sit back-to-back with your partner, legs crossed.
- Inhale, lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, twist to one side.
- Your partner should be twisted in the opposite direction.
- Try and reach around to your partner's knee.
- Place your hands on your partner's knees for support and to increase the stretch.
- Then come back to the centre, and both twist the opposite way.
5. Double warrior pose
The Double Warrior Pose stretches the quadriceps, hip flexors, hamstrings, hip adductors, and chest/shoulders, here’s how to do it:
- Stand side by side, facing the same direction, about an arm's length apart.
- Both partners step their outer foot back into a wide-legged stance, with toes pointing slightly outward.
- Simultaneously, both partners bend their front knee, ensuring it aligns with the ankle, keeping the back leg straight.
- Extend your inner arms parallel to the ground, reaching towards each other, and interlock your hands.
- Together, lift your intertwined arms overhead, lengthening the spine and finding balance in the pose.
- Switch sides when you have stretched out enough.
6. Double child’s pose
Another basic pose, Anna says that “child's pose is a simple stretch and should make up the foundations of your yoga knowledge, so it’s definitely one to focus on getting right.” This pose relaxes the spine, hips, and shoulders, here is how to do it:
- Sit back-to-back with your partner on your knees.
- Both fold forward, reaching your arms out in front of you.
- Allow the button of your backs to rest against each other.
- Rest your head on the floor and stretch your arms.
- Bend your head into your chest and lean back your bum into your calves.
7. Partner boat pose
This is a technical-looking pose but relatively easy to learn. Anna says that you’ll be “looking pro with this pose, but technically it is not too challenging.” The partner boat pose helps to strengthen the core and stretch the hamstrings, here’s how to do it:
- Sit facing each other.
- Bend your knees and touch the sole of your feet together.
- Reach out and hold hands with your partner, feet still touching.
- Whilst holding hands, push your feet together and lean back, stretching out your legs off the ground.
- Engage your core and push against each other, feeling the stretch.
- Try to reach your feet as high up as they will go.
8. Double plank pose
Anna says that this pose helps to strengthen the arms and core, here’s how to do it:
- Begin by facing each other in a plank position.
- You should have your hands directly under your shoulders and your toes tucked under, creating a straight line from head to heels.
- Ensure that your bodies are aligned parallel to each other, maintaining equal distance and stability.
- Reach out and hold your partner's hands securely, creating a stable connection.
- Keep your bodies parallel and maintain the plank position, balancing your weight evenly between your hands and toes.
- Aim to hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and stability.
9. Double savasana
According to Anna, this is a great pose for the end of a session which promotes deep relaxation and reduces stress, here’s how to do it:
- Both partners lie on their backs, with their legs extended and slightly apart.
- Allow the arms to rest alongside the body, palms facing upward.
- If you want, partners can choose to hold hands or gently touch each other's fingertips.
- Close the eyes and consciously release tension from the body.
- Relax the muscles, starting from the top of the head and moving down to the toes.
- Focus on deep breaths and perform until relaxed.
10. Partner-supported camel pose
Anna explained that “the partner-supported camel pose stretches the front of the body, including the chest, shoulders, and hip flexors.” Here’s how to do it:
- Sit facing each other, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Reach out and hold each other's hands, creating a firm grip.
- Slowly start leaning back, keeping your grip on each other's hands as you go.
- Continue leaning back until your backs are parallel to the ground, forming a gentle backbend.
- Arch back: If both partners are comfortable, gently release your hands and place them on your partner's ankles or shins, providing support and allowing for a deeper backbend.
- Lift your chest upward, opening the front of the body and feeling the stretch in your shoulders, chest, and front of the hips.
Five benefits of couples yoga
Doing yoga with a partner can enhance the benefits that you would usually get from the practice. As well as giving you increased physical and mental benefits, it also helps deepen your connection and is fun! If you’re unsure what the benefits of yoga overall, then check out our expert guide here. Anna helped us explain the added benefits of couples yoga in comparison to practising it on your own:
1. Accountability and motivation
Anna says: “When you have someone to practice with, you're more likely to stick to a regular routine and support each other's commitment.” This is because practising yoga with a partner can make you more accountable for your training and add to your motivation levels.
2. Increased strength and flexibility
Working out with a partner means you can both help each other to perform deeper stretches which will enhance flexibility. Anna says: “Your partner can gently assist you in reaching further into a stretch by pulling or pushing your body more than you’re able to yourself.”
If you want to pursue yoga specifically for your flexibility, then check out our guide to the best yoga poses for flexibility, with tips from other yoga experts.
3. Trust and communication
Anna explains that “during couples yoga, you rely on your partner for support, assistance, and balance. This helps build trust as well as effective communication because both are needed to coordinate movements, ensure safety, and adjust each other's alignment.”
4. Improved alignment and posture
Having a partner to practice with can help improve alignment and posture. By observing each other's alignment and providing gentle adjustments or feedback, you can both improve your poses and ensure proper alignment, which can reduce the risk of injury.
Finally, Anna says that during couples yoga, you can improve with your partner and bond over your successes or failures. The feeling of working towards a goal together and achieving it helps to strengthen this bond that you have with the person.
Want to learn more about yoga and see some more expert-led reviews and fitness guides? Head over to The Recommended’s fitness section. Here you can see The best yoga mats as recommended by experts, Yoga vs Pilates, and The best full-body workouts to perform at home.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.