Namaste for two: Partner yoga classes allow bonding, deeper practiceFARGO - With arms exalted and intertwined, legs touching and bent, two become Warrior One. Couple or partner yoga classes are often offered around Valentine’s Day.
By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM
If you go
What: Partner Yoga class
When: 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Elements, 3120 25th St. S., Fargo
Info: $10 per couple. No experience necessary. To reserve a spot, call (701) 356-5200
What: Thai Yoga for Two
When: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Probstfield Center for Education, Moorhead
Info: $65. Call (218) 284-3400 by Friday to register
FARGO - With arms exalted and intertwined, legs touching and bent, two become Warrior One.
Couple or partner yoga classes are often offered around Valentine’s Day. Andrea Paradis, who has been teaching yoga for five years, will lead a partner class Sunday at Elements, a women’s fitness center in south Fargo.
“It’s a great way to add to your practice,” says Andrea, who practices partner yoga with her husband, Phil. “I feel able to get into poses deeper and able to bond with someone.”
Yoga is often an individual practice in a group setting. Practitioners are admonished not to compare or compete.
In partner yoga, two people interact for much of the class.
Partner yoga doesn’t have to be done with a significant other, Andrea notes. Some people come to yoga for the first time through a partner class with a friend or family member they feel comfortable with, she says.
Andrea will often start her partner class with each pair meditating back-to-back, so they can synchronize their breath. After individual Sun Salutations – a series of poses performed in a flow – she will direct the couples into the joined poses.
For example, in the balance-testing tree pose, the couple would stand side-by-side, lift opposite legs and hold hands.
To close the class, the couple may lay side-by-side in Savasana, or corpse pose.
While yoga classes are traditionally quiet and reflective, Andrea has found the partner classes she leads more lively, as the couples chat and laugh.
She says having Phil there often makes husbands who’ve never practiced yoga feel more at ease. “Phil’s a regular guy,” she says.
At home, Andrea and Phil practice acro yoga, where one person is the “base” and the other the “flyer.” Phil will lift Andrea into different poses.
“I get a great stretch out of it,” Andrea says.
Brenda Haugstad, owner of YogiCare in Moorhead, practices Thai yoga massage, another way couples or friends can do yoga together.
She’ll teach a Moorhead Community Education class, Thai Yoga for Two, on Saturday morning.
In Thai yoga massage, one person is the receiver while the other pulls and presses his or her body into assisted yoga poses, stretching the muscles.
Thai yoga massage is sometimes classed “lazy man’s yoga,” Haugstad says.
“You’re not getting any exercise,” she says. “The receiver doesn’t need to know yoga, they don’t need to be flexible.”
The receiver lies on the floor on a thick mat, barefoot, and has to stay limp like a rag doll, Haugstad says.
During the class, Haugstad demonstrates different assisted poses, like spinal twists and child’s pose.
In her practice, Haugstad works on clients’ “sen channels,” known as energy meridians in Chinese medicine. She’ll sometimes walk on their backs and often sits on her clients. She teaches more basic poses in the couple’s class.
“For the receiver, it’s very relaxing, brings a sense of well-being,” she says. “You can just treat each other.”