Partner Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Standing Pose Dance

35 min - Practice
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Scott, with the help of Jody, guides us in a partner yoga dance-like sequence with a focus on standing poses. In some postures, you will be supporting one another physically and energetically, and in others you will be creating fun shapes and using your partner to assist with balance. You will feel supported and connected.
What You'll Need: Partner

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Mar 26, 2015
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Welcome, my name is Scott, this is Jodi, and for this segment of partner yoga we're going to play with elements of standing poses where we will be helping each other in some of the standing poses, in some cases working off of each other's energy, balancing off of each other, in some cases just creating fun shapes and enjoying each other's energy. It's going to be like a dance, a partner dance. In so many parts of life and we're working with a partner there's always a give and take. At some point some person's taking the lead, other person's then trusting and going with that. Ultimately though you're creating basically a work of art together and through these sequence of poses. So we'll begin facing one another and just take a moment to acknowledge one another, to feel grateful for this opportunity to practice together, the practice that you're going to share, helping each other, just enjoying each other's presence, enjoying each other's smile, laughter. At some points in the practice too you might fall out of a pose, end up in a pool of grace on the earth laughing, and if you do then you're doing it right. Bring your hands together at your heart. We often begin a sequence where we begin a yoga class where you chant om. Here we're chanting om to each other. So it's not going to be too loud or too quiet. It's an offering to one another. So step into your breath. And softly open your eyes. Clasp wrists. So each person holds each other's wrists and we're not trying to take the life out of each other's arms of a death grip but we want to just hold firmly so that we can trust when we pull away from each other that we're not going to slip apart or lose grip. Step far enough away where you can then hinge at your hips. Allow the torso to come more parallel to the floor. If your hamstrings are tight you can have the knees bent entirely for this whole first practice. Once you find the shape start to gently pull against each other. The more that you can pull that actually feels great. You get a much more of a stretch through the side shoulders, the whole spine, the low back. But neither person is trying to overwhelm the other. You're not trying to win. Through this balance of pulling we're helping each other. That'll be true throughout the whole practice. Looking at ways of helping each other's experience in each pose. Just a few more breaths here. If the hamstrings wake up you can start to straighten the legs more. Even pull a little bit more but again not trying to pull your partner over. Cool. And then begin to look up. Don't let go. Stay about the same distance from each other but now hold just right wrist to right wrist. Again a nice gentle clasp but firm. Bow again at the hips. Now the same leg is the arm. In this case the right leg. Straighten the right leg. Pull the outer right hip away and start to lift the right armpit. Look under the right arm. Pull. So look under the arm. Pull on each other. The left knee can bend. Place your left elbow on your left knee and twist open. Feel a stretch across the whole top side here. The whole right side of your body. From the outer right hip all the way through the right shoulder. A few more breaths here. Excellent. And then look up. Again don't let go too quickly. Come to standing and chain sides. Same thing here. Hinge at the hips. Pull the outer left hip back. Lift the left arm put up. Look under the arm. Twist open to the side. Pull on your partner and feel that great stretch that whole side of your body. As you stay in these poses a few breaths and as you get used to working with a partner you can find that you can actually pull pretty hard but each person is pulling just enough to help the other person. That connection becomes even a nonverbal. I don't need to say pull more or less. You just kind of feel that connection. And then inhale runs. We come back to holding hands again.

Holding wrists. We step in a little bit closer. The legs stay strong. This time we're going to arch back. Roll the shoulders open. Lift your heart up toward the ceiling. Take the head back and pulling against each other. Hips might come forward a little bit and use that connection to arch back even more. Beautiful. Inhale rise. Take an opportunity to share a smile or a grimace. Then you're going to come down to the earth from here. We're going to come into a downward facing dog facing head-to-head with enough space between the hands such that when we do part of a vinyasa we're not going to bop heads. It's not a good idea to smash heads with your partner when you're doing partner yoga. So come down to the earth and set up so that maybe there's about two feet distance between the hands. Press back into downward dog and feel the benefit of the previous stretch and how it feels in your downward dog. The length to your shoulders. The length of your spine. Pressing the thigh bones back. And then from here begin to look forward. Step the right foot forward up between the hands. Stay up on the back toes and then we're going to link palms. So palms to palms and start to straighten the arms. We'll press into each other here. Lift our heart strong through the back leg and as we stretch through the back leg simultaneously by pushing through the hands we get a nice stretch to the back hip and a lift to the spine. And then the hands come back to the floor.

Step back to dog pose just to change sides. Now the left foot comes forward. Stay up on the back toes. Find hands. You'll find too that the connection of hands as we go to straight arms even helps with the balance here. You're able to go deeper into the hips. Lift the spine more without worrying so much about just balancing on your own two feet. You have two more feet to help you. Cool. And then hands come to the earth. Come back to plank pose. This time we'll have a little vinyasa. So from plank lower down. Watch that you don't pop heads. Come into a back bend and take a moment here. Again share a smile. Feel the reflection of the energy from your heart reflected off the heart across from you. And then back to downward dog. For the next two poses we do it's gonna be a mirror image of one another. So in this case in this beautiful studio we're going to step the foot that's closer to the window forward. Again between the hands. Lower the back heel to the earth and you can come up elbow on the knee and link the top hands here. Palms together. So we're in a side angle pose parsvakonasana. Again the hands press into one another and that helps us now to spin open the top chest. Spin open the top shoulder. Depending on your practice you can keep the elbow on the knee or bring your fingertips to the floor. Back leg stays strong. And then we'll look down. Place the hands. Step back to dog pose to change sides. Foot further away from the window comes forward. Back heel comes down. Elbow on the knee. The top hands reach. And here we get to look at this beautiful view across outside the window into the ocean as we roll our chest into this beautiful sky. Excellent. Hands come to the floor. Time for a vinyasa again. So step back plank.

Take an extra inhale here. Lower exhale. Inhale. Share a smile. And downward dog. One more in this sequence. Again the foot closer to the window comes forward. Back heel spins down. And it'll be triangle pose. Depending on your practice the bottom hand can stay on the floor or on your ankle or on your knee. Top hands again are going to come together. Palm to palm. Strong through the back leg. Push into the top hand and spin open the heart to the sky. The whole front of the spine can open and turn up to the sky. Beautiful. And look down. Step back to dog pose. And we'll do the second side. Left foot comes forward. My left foot. Whoops. Actually you were correct. There you go. Perfect. So foot further away. That's it. And then back heel to the floor. And we set up triangle pose. Either hands on the floor or hands on the ankle. Top hand comes together. Whoops. There you go. So what's true in a lot of these poses too is how close or far away you are. Something that you can adjust. As you try these sequences maybe a number of times. You can try being a little bit closer or a little bit further away and see if that helps you to have or one position helps more to allow a leverage to open the chest and open the top shoulder more. Good. Hands to the floor. One last vinyasa. Exhale down. Inhale. Maybe share a smirk or stick out your tongue if the person isn't smiling. And downward dog. Take a few breaths here.

And again feel the residual effects of the previous poses in the body and your downward dog. And walk your hands back to your feet. Come into a standing forward fold. Hands on your hips. Keep your legs super strong. Root down through your legs. Inhale rise. Lifting your heart. Beautiful. And we'll walk back toward each other. So those are ones where we were facing one another and creating a connection to the hands. These next series of standing poses we're going to be back-to-back. Now some of these standing poses too are not necessarily going to be your deepest standing pose, your strongest standing pose. In some cases it's just a matter of the shape that you created and basically the energetic exchange of your partner, that connection through your heart. So for these we're going to be back-to-back. We'll come one foot forward, one foot back. There you go. Now a key thing with difference is the height. For this next sequence really the thing that all that matters is lining up the front foot. The back foot doesn't have to be lined up. The taller person can have the foot further away and that's totally fine for this next sequence. Another key thing in the foot placement for this next sequence is you don't want to have the edges of the foot all the way together. That's going to make the balance very difficult. Have a good spacing of about maybe a foot 12 inches between the feet. That's going to help a lot with the balance here. Turn your heart open to the side and start to even already lean back toward your partner. Start to feel the connection through the back of your heart, the back of the shoulders. The arms will stretch out to the side and again difference in limb length. Hands might not come all the way together. Here Jodi's hands can actually link around the side of my arms and we create that connection here bringing our backs together more. First we'll go through a pose warrior two, Virabhadrasana two and it's bending the front knee and still stretching back to the bottom back hand. Leaning back into each other. It's like you have someone to trust you, someone at your back. Let's take a couple more breaths here. Having that ability to lean back into something that you trust, you can soften more and just enjoy the shape that you've created. One more inhale here and then with your exhale tilt to the side. We'll create side angle Parsvakanasana. I'll take my hand to Jodi's ankle. She'll take her hand to my ankle and then the top arm comes up and over. We keep that link. Once you create that shape then relax into it. Lean back. Take advantage of leaning into each other to open the heart even more. From here we'll come into triangle pose. The front leg straighten. Top arm goes more toward the sky. There you go. Lean back. Excellent. Cool and then bend the front knee and we'll come back up to standing to do the other side. So in all these poses too, feel free to repeat. If you find a particular pose or sequence that you like, pause. Pause the video and repeat it. Try it again with a different distance or different placement of feet. Enjoy yourself. Don't try to struggle to create a shape. If you're smiling and laughing then you're doing it right. So again we're gonna go to the other side. So we'll look at lining up the feet. The front foot lines up. The back foot doesn't have to line up. There's a little bit of space between the feet in the middle. Stretch the arms out to the side. Link arms through the hands. There you go. And we get again to look out into this beautiful California coast. Start to lean into each other. You can settle into the pose more easily. One more inhale here and then with your exhale tilt it to the side. Hands come to your partner's ankle making any adjustments you need to. Top arms link any way that works and then lean back into it. And breathe and smile. Maybe you can tell that your partner's smiling without even looking. And then inhale rise. Come all the way up. Turn your feet more parallel and step your feet back together. The next sequence we do we're gonna stay back-to-back but instead of doing side-to-side standing poses we're gonna do more front-facing poses. The first one is a warrior one, Virabhadrasana one. So we'll both start with our right foot forward. Step the left foot back a little bit. Now this is going to be a key one too depending on how open your shoulders are and your partner's shoulders. And depending on how open your back feels and back bending you might be a little closer or try a little bit further away.

Start conservative. Try it out. Maybe move further away and see if that still feels good. You get a nice stretch for the shoulders. So bending the front knee, lift your heart, start to look up, lift your arms over your head, look for your partner's hands. And find some type of clasp here. Whatever works, both arms don't have to be straight. Once you have that clasp then bend into the front knee more, keep the back leg strong, arch open your heart to the sky. And then rise up, release the hands. Now for this next pose, still keep the right foot forward, left foot back, but we're gonna slide in a little bit closer to each other. Try to come all the way even so the back of the legs and the hips start to come more together. Then a forward fold here. This is parsvottanasana, sometimes called pyramid pose. We bow in, look at each other, share a smile, and then reach back for each other's arms. You can do that one at a time. And to slide your hands down the arms as you come into a deeper forward fold. And you use that to help come deeper over the front leg, bowing into each other. And all these poses, there's a little bit of balance, always be a little bit of wobble, and it's a dance. I'm not trying to pull each other over, we're actually dancing within that sphere of balance. And release the hands. Now the front foot, step it forward a little bit more. Lower the back knee to the floor, now a low lunge, anjanaasana. Lift the heart, arch the heart up toward the sky, reach the arms over your head, look for hands. And then again, once you clasp, then go deeper into the lunge, lifting your heart to the sky more. And then release the hands. Hands come back to the floor, step forward into a standing forward fold, uttanasana. And make a funny face at each other through your legs. And then hands at the hips, root down through the legs, inhale rise. And we'll do that whole sequence, changing which legs in front. Now the left leg is going to be front in front and the right leg back. So again, we'll adjust to a distance that works for us. Left foot forward, right foot back, warrior one. And again, depending upon height and how your shoulders and your back feel, you might be closer or further away from each other. Bend into the left knee, lift the heart to the sky, reach your arms over your head, find hands. And then go even deeper into the front leg and lift your heart to the sky more. Smooth, steady breath. And then inhale rise. Now again, we come a little bit closer. I'm going to skew it in.

Legs line up, hips line up a little bit more. Both legs are straight. And then we bow forward, exhale. Fingers to the floor initially just to find stability. It gives you another opportunity to adjust if you want to come a little closer or further away. Then once you feel stable, look back toward your partner, take arms. You can slide your hands down each other's arms as you go deeper into the forward fold. And then release the hands. Fingertips of the floor initially. Step your front foot forward a little bit more. Come down into a low lunge. Hips go low, heart goes to the sky. Find hands and lunge deeper into the earth. And then release the hands to the floor. Again, big step forward. Place the feet evenly. Bow into each other. Handstrings should feel nice and open now as we've helped each other through all these stretches. In hands on your hips, strong legs. Inhale to rise. And turn back to face the front. Excellent. Now come up closer to me and we're going to do a series of balancing poses. Tree pose and Padagusthasana where our hips are coming together. And you'll feel too that if these poses are individually challenging to you, when you do them on your own, balancing on one foot, you might actually find that combining balance, balancing with someone else, the connection between the two of you actually makes the balance easier and you can spend more time, do more in the pose. So we'll line up and have maybe about a foot distance between our feet and then we lean our hips into each other. Take the inside hand and bring it around the waist. With the other hand, help to guide the outside foot to the inner thigh. There's always a little wavering, kind of dancing around in that balance, that sphere of balance. Outside hands come together in Namaste. Lift the heart, shoulders roll open. If you feel good here, maybe start to raise the hands, branch of the tree up overhead and then bring your hands back to the heart and release that hand. Help the foot back to the floor. To change sides, we'll do a little do-si-do. So you can literally do a little do-si-do to come to the other side. Again, about a foot distance between the feet, lean the hips together, inside arm comes around the waist. Use the outside hand to guide the foot to the inner thigh. Vrksasana, tree pose. Once you find that stability, hands come together, Namaste. We're literally leaning into each other and that helps to create the balance. Maybe the top hand rises. Then bring the hand back to the heart and use that hand to help the foot back to the floor. And then let's do-si-do one more time.

We'll do a similar pose, starting similarly, and then go into stretching the leg out to the side, padagusthasana. So again, feet a little bit apart, hold the waist, use the outside hand to guide the foot in. Now this time, see if you can reach down, grab your big toe. You can stretch the leg out to the side, depending on how open your leg, your hamstring feels, might not go all the way straight, but having the support of your partner, you might surprise yourself. And then release the foot, come down, do-si-do again. That part's fun. And we'll do the second side. Hold the waist, and again, lean the hips in, grab the big toe of the outside foot, lift the heart, and inhale, stretch the leg out to the side, and then begin to release the foot all the way to the earth. Excellent. Next one is a little bit more challenging. Now we're gonna have some weight onto our hands, but again, balancing off of each other's energy should make it maybe easier than doing it on your own. So I'll come back to this side. We're gonna start in a plank pose, and then we're gonna lean our backs together to form a sidearm balance, vashisthasana, balancing against each other's weight. So we'll come down into a plank pose, lining up shoulders, a little bit of space between the hands. This time it's maybe a little less, maybe a half a foot distance between the hands. And we're gonna lean to the same side, so take the foot to the inside, bring it on to the outer edge of the foot, hips start to come together, stack the feet if you can, lean back, lift the top arm up, and once you find a connection here, you can start to lean even more weight into each other. Good, and then release the top arm, bring it to the floor. So the change size, Jodi's just gonna come up and kind of jump over me, and we'll do the other side. Again, about a half a foot distance between the hands will help when you lean into each other. The inner foot, slide onto the outer edge, start to stack the feet, hips come together, roll the shoulder open, link the top arms up. See if you can challenge your balance more and look up toward the top hand. Legs are strong, roll your heart up toward the sky more, and then both hands to the floor, and lower back to your knees. I'm going to try one more pose, I'll come back to this side. Now this one's probably the hardest of the ones that we've done so far, so we saved it to the end. So this would be a good opportunity too if it doesn't quite work out and you both end up on the floor. Just laugh, go with it, you're doing it great, doing it perfect. So we're gonna have feet to feet lying on our side. There you go. Legs are straight, and bring your bottom foot to my foot. There you go. And so again it's going to be a sidearm balance, Vashusthasana. This time we're going to try to raise the top foot, keeping our feet together.

So place your hand a little bit forward of your shoulder, start to lift the hips up, feel the pressure into the bottom foot, look back toward your partner. It's hard to do this without looking. You got that? There you go. And then we're going to try to bring the top foot together. Oh yeah, maybe it doesn't go all the way straight, that's totally fine. Top arm lifts up, and if you hold this even just for a few breaths, whoa, generates a lot of laughter. So we'll do this one more time on the other side, facing back toward the ocean, and these beautiful flowers. Again the bottom hand is a little bit forward of the shoulder, that's going to help with your balance. Keep that arm bone strongly into the shoulder. Bottom leg straightens, lift the hips off the earth, look back toward your partner, see if he can bring the top foot together. There we go. Try to keep breathing, that's a good idea. And then hands to the floor, and come down. That was fun. Now you're going to just sit facing each other for just a last pose, line up the knees. Just a simple twist, if you have any tension in your spine, low back from the poses that we tried, this is a wonderful release helping each other. We'll take the right hand and go to the outside of the partner's left hip. The left arm is going to reach back around and find that hand, and hold hands or wrists. Take an inhale, sit up tall, roll your shoulders open, and exhale, twist to that side. In every cycle of breath, releasing into a deeper twist. And inhale, come back to center, share a smile, and we'll go to the other side. Roll the shoulders open, and with each exhale, maybe release into a deeper twist.

Feel the arm at your low back, encouraging your low back to lift into a tall spine, and then inhale back to center. Bring your hands to your heart. Take a moment again to be grateful. Feel gratitude for sharing this practice with your partner, sharing new things, sharing each other's light, each other's smiles, each other's laughter. I want to thank you, Joy. Namaste. Namaste.

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