It seems ironic that though yoga is about connection (yoga means “to yolk”), it is such a solo practice. Though we may practice in groups, yoga invites us to focus on ourselves: my sensations, my thoughts, my habits, my abilities, etc. Where is the yolking? Where is the connecting?
Our digital culture also fuels more isolated pursuits. Even our social time is spent independently staring at our digital devices replying distally to a widening array of “friends”. However, humans are social creatures by nature, and our increasing isolation is thought to be one cause of increases in anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Partner Yoga provides an opportunity to truly connect to another person through physical contact, through shared breathing, through shared goals of creating the partner poses. We learn to listen not with our ears, but with our proprioception (awareness of your body in space). Partner yoga provides an opportunity to be sensitive not to only your own flexibility and needs in a pose, but that of your partner. It gives us a chance to tend to another, to be kind to another, to develop our sensitivity to another. It gives us a chance to connect.
“Through the practice of partner Yoga, the duality of self/other begins to dissolve and we experience directly the essence of Yoga – union.”
PARTNER YOGA: THE PLEASURES AND THE PRINCIPLES
One of the reasons Facebook and Instagram are more popular than old-school, in-person interactions, is that they are navigated on our own terms. We have less fear of messing up, saying the wrong thing, being unpopular, than we do with in-person interactions. Similarly, fear may keep us from pursuing Partner Yoga. The practice evokes our inner dialogues of not being enough for our partner: not skilled enough, or flexible enough, or strong enough or patient enough.
Our willingness to engage in something, even in the presence of fear, represents our courage. And, courageous action enhances our resilience. Of course, every pose doesn’t come off perfectly on its first attempt, or second, or perhaps ever. But, being in the practice enhances our sense of capability. We learn that we can navigate challenges peacefully. We learn to express our needs and listen to the needs of our partners kindly.
And with that sense of ability, our fear diminishes and we start to find the joy of being embodied, the joy of moving with another friend in a type of meditative dance. We develop a sense of accomplishment. And, most importantly for our sanity and happiness, we experience true human connection.
I am happy to offer another Partner Yoga and Thai Massage Workshop with my husband, Steven. Come join us for an afternoon of connecting. Bring a friend or loved one. Give yourselves the gift of some unplugged time together.
No experience is required. Domonick will provide clear, easy-to-follow directions to create a safe environment for your exploration. Bring a partner with whom you feel comfortable being in close contact.