This one time, when Joanna tried partner yoga…
The idea of partner yoga is to develop a connection.
Our mainstream society is very anti-touch and values autonomy and technology, multi-purpose multi-tasking, and personal space often at the expense of this connection. The book Partner Yoga explains how important this connection is and how it can deepen our yoga practice, our personal experience, and our lives.
We will experience our own rewards not by being better than others but by building others up and flourishing together.
This is very interesting to me. I am certainly a product of our modern society with my mile long to-do list, work to do on my phone, answering emails between completing tasks kind-of-life. And relationships and human connection can certainly suffer as a result. I totally see the benefit of bringing more touch into my life and more partner interaction into my yoga practice.
I am also not entirely comfortable with my body and myself as I would like to be.
I know that self-consciousness can hinder partner poses in yoga – we work best and benefit most when we can relax and be in the moment and submit to a pose – but it can be really difficult (at least for me) to go over to a stranger and basically put your head in their lap and not worry about how much I’m sweating or how probably should have shaved or if my stomach is grumbling…
So, this is obviously something I need to become more comfortable with. So, maybe it would be best for me to start with people I’m already comfortable around. I decided to try it on my husband. He was game (sort of – he’s not really a yoga guy). But he couldn’t really bend very well. It was beneficial, but I don’t think that he got much out of it. I think both people need to enjoy it for it to really help. And then he kind of knocked me over, so maybe I should start with someone smaller…
I was at my parents’ house for Easter so I thought maybe I could do some partner poses with my mother. I certainly thought she could benefit from some form of physical activity (not her favorite thing) and she decided to humor me. But, she can’t really bend very well either.
She explained to me why yoga wouldn’t help her, why she didn’t have time, why I would end up hurting her or something like that. Let’s put it this way, she didn’t exactly try.
So, this clearly wasn’t working with people who also aren’t comfortable with their bodies. So, I decided to try some poses with my 6-year old. Who is more comfortable with themselves than children after all? We frequently practice yoga together, so he really should have been my first choice. He is really ticklish which made it a little difficult at first, but we worked through it. We also had to work out our big height difference but this actually made some of the poses work better (for him haha). He is entirely comfortable with himself and his body. He thought it was hilarious when he farted on me. When we finished, he was excited to show and teach his younger sister.
I had a really enjoyable time, and I did feel more connected and grounded after practicing partner yoga. This exercise made me realize that partner yoga is like a lot of other things in life – the younger you start doing something the more comfortable you are with it. If nothing else, I think practicing partner yoga with my children can help them develop deeper connections to people and relationships throughout their life. I think this is so important as our lifestyles change more and more away from human interaction. If I can ingrain this in them early as something to be valued and nurtured, their lives will be enriched.