5 Partner Yoga Poses to Try With Your BFF
Namaste! We’re Ashley (left) and Morgan (right)!
We met on the first day of Yoga Teacher Training a few months ago and have been inseparable ever since! Since we both love yoga, photography & trying new things, we set out to try some of the most popular partner yoga poses that have crossed our Instagram feeds! Our experiences are chronicled below, along with our posture how-to's and difficulty ratings!
Ashley: This pose was definitely hard to balance in, and when I lost balance, it knocked Morgan off balance too. We did not get this shot on the first take! Morgan got into her warrior stance first so I could determine where to place my standing foot. I then kicked up and back into standing bow with my right hand on Morgan’s waist for stability and my left hand holding my kicking foot. Once my foot was high enough, I leaned into Morgan and tried to guide my foot towards her hands until contact was made. I then brought my left hand to join my right on her waist and used the stability she had created to stay balanced. My portion of the pose requires quite a bit of flexibility in your spine, hamstrings, hip flexors, and shoulders, but it’s so fun once you get it down.
Overall difficulty? 3/5, depending on your overall flexibility. If you have very tight hamstrings or a tight spine, you may need to work on your standing bow posture first before this posture becomes achievable.
Morgan: One of the beautiful parts of working with Ashley is that we both have different strengths. She’s much more flexible than I am, while I have more upper body strength. In this pose, I knew I would be the warrior. The most difficult step was definitely finding Ashley’s foot to hold without being able to see it! Once I had a good grip on it, my portion of the pose didn’t require much other than staying rooted & stable so that she could balance. If we were going to perfect this posture I would take a wider, deeper stance.
Overall difficulty? 3/5 because of the trickiness of getting into the pose itself. (2/5 for my portion - definitely the easier of the two!)
Ashley: This pose was actually more difficult than I had anticipated, simply because I had never done a backbend with my arms in this position before - thankfully Morgan's husband was there to assist. It was a new sensation for my body, but once I received Morgan’s hands I felt stable. I honestly don’t know how we would have gotten into this pose without assistance because balancing while the world is upside down can get pretty tricky! If we were going to perfect this posture, I would stand farther back towards Morgan’s feet, and push my hips forward to create an even deeper backbend.
Overall difficulty? With assistance: 2/5. Without assistance: 3/5.
Morgan: My main challenge in this posture was finding a way to hold my chest high while also being able to reach back for Ashley’s arms. I probably could have reached back one arm at a time, but having assistance with pulling both of my hands back at the same time to meet hers was a huge help. Once in the pose it was fairly comfortable to hold because our weight was balanced and we held each other stable.
Overall difficulty? 2/5 but only because we cheated! I’d definitely recommend having an extra person on hand in addition to your photographer if you’d like a little assistance getting into & out of the poses.
Ashley: This pose was the biggest payoff for the least amount of work. The best tip I can give is for both partners to point their toes, as it makes for some really nice lines in the finished posture! Once Morgan was in her plow pose, I sat directly behind her feet and placed my legs on top of hers, one at a time. We then joined arms and I tucked my head. The most stressful part of this pose was my concern that Morgan’s neck was getting gouged by pebbles and twigs so I made sure to continually check in with how she was doing.
Overall difficulty? 1/5
Morgan: This was my absolute favorite pose we tried! I love how our bodies create the shape of an infinity symbol and it was fairly easy to recreate. Once I was in plow pose, the weight of Ashley’s legs anchored me comfortably to the ground and our joined arms provided even more stability. I’d recommend putting something under you if you’re going to attempt this posture outside because there were definitely rocks digging into my neck!
Overall Difficulty? 1/5
Ashley: This was, without a doubt, the hardest pose we’ve tried, and I just didn’t have the strength to lift myself into wheel with my hands rotated to grip Morgan’s ankles. Therefore, I recommend the stronger partner be the wheel. For my portion, I simply had to lay on my stomach while Morgan pushed into wheel, ensuring her feet were placed close enough to my neck. I then pushed up into high cobra, being careful not to knock her off balance. We communicated a lot as I pushed up slowly to ensure Morgan still felt stable, and the one tricky part was not being able to lower my shoulders for fear of ruining Morgan’s foot position.
Overall difficulty? I’m giving this pose a 4/5 as it was the most difficult we’ve attempted. My portion was definitely the easier of the two (probably a 2/5).
Morgan: Getting into this pose was a little awkward, so make sure you’re trying it with someone you know pretty well! Ashley laid down on her stomach & I sat on her upper thighs, then laid down & set my feet on her shoulders. Then I reached my arms back to grab her ankles and pushed myself up into wheel! During the first couple of attempts my feet kept slipping off of her shoulders, so make sure to place your feet as close to your partner’s neck as possible! It’s also important for the base partner’s legs to be wide so that the partner in wheel can keep their hands shoulder-width apart. This pose requires A LOT of upper body strength to get into. We managed it once, got 1 photo & then couldn’t recreate it.
Overall difficulty? 5/5
Ashley: This is a pose with a higher level of payoff than the work put into it! The two biggest tips I can give are to talk about where your drishtis (gazes) are going to be (e.g. straight ahead or up towards your feet) and to ask your photographer to guide your backs so that they’re symmetrical. It also took us a couple of attempts to figure out how far away from one another to sit so that our legs could fully extend.
Overall Difficulty: 2/5
Morgan: I thought this pose would be a lot harder than it actually was! The key to getting into it comfortably is joining hands first & then placing your feet together & lifting them up, one foot pair at a time. This pose was definitely the most comfortable to hold - it just required a bit of core strength to maintain good posture. The nice thing about holding hands is that you’re literally holding each other up!
Overall Difficulty: 2/5
After communication and safety, the most important part of partner yoga is having fun! Sometimes public yoga photography can feel awkward, but when you have a partner, you’re so focused on one another you don’t even notice the external distractions. And being fully present makes the process that much more fun! When we couldn’t get into some of the poses or hold others for very long, we just laughed it off instead of getting frustrated. We went into some of these poses knowing we might not be able to do them at all, and that’s okay. For every 1 good photo we got there were 15 more in which we were struggling to get into the pose, or falling out of it, or just laying on the ground laughing! Yoga doesn’t always have to be such a serious endeavor. So grab your BFF, put on some matching yoga pants and go play!