Having just completed an inspiring weekend of Partner Yoga at Kripalu Center for Yoga, I am struck once again by the simple yet profound lessons this practice provides.
The biggest lesson it continues to reveal is that Love is our true nature as humans – that we are happiest when we feel loved and loving.
Partner Yoga is a practice that brings us into an immediate felt sense of our shared humanity, in ways that words and concepts cannot. It is particularly potent in the current culture of fear and intensifying polarities to witness how easily ‘strangers’ relax into attitudes of kindness and openness.
Partner Yoga teaches us how to effort-less. We see how we do not have to stress, strain or struggle in a posture (or in life) but instead, we re-member how to align, both physically and emotionally, with our innate radiance and well-being.
More than once I have witnessed people burst into tears at this realization. We are all doing our best to live our lives well and to realize that we don’t have to work so hard, can be quite a thing to recognize. Ease and relaxation are not only more natural and fun but a more effective and efficient way to live.
A foundational lesson we perceive and practice is to remember that our relationship with ourselves needs to be primary to be able to truly support others.
This understanding is such a powerful antidote to the co-dependent conditioning that most of us received. We are trained to believe that we must sacrifice our own needs in order to receive love and support from others, instead of giving from the pure joy of caring for others.
Teaching us to listen through our hearts and hands is one of Partner Yoga’s greatest gifts. Being deeply connected to ourselves and others slows us way down, quiets the mind and teaches us about the deep wisdom of the body.
These lessons reveal themselves naturally and metaphorically throughout the practices. They come as a felt sense and deep knowing. We get to experience how we are energy meeting energy, and how energy doesn’t lie or confuse us the way thoughts and words can.
When fear or any type of discomfort arises, we have a choice. Stay present, breathe, and move through to the expanded experience on the other side or contract and stay stuck in a limiting pattern. Having the presence and support of our partner makes all the difference in this process.
We typically begin a workshop with a demonstration of a Partner Yoga flow set to beautiful music. This combination of music, expansive movement and deeply connected humans, will often evoke tears in those witnessing.
Because of our brain’s ‘mirror neurons’, simply witnessing others so physically and emotionally connected has a healing effect on those observing. A desire to experience these expansive movements is also evoked.
We often end the day’s practice with a group Savasana. This practice dissolves physical boundaries and opens the mind to experience itself beyond thoughts and concepts. It is a direct experience of the ‘oneness’ so often spoken about in spiritual literature.
Partner Yoga is a new phenomena that continues to co-create itself each time humans come together with the intention to compassionately connect and play with form and energy. Although it has deep roots in Yogic, specifically Tantric, lineages – it is an emergent practice that is designed to meet the current needs of our evolving humanity.
I feel so blessed by this practice that continues to expand and inspire me. It reminds me of what is real and true about humans in ways that we don’t often see. And it renews my faith that given skillful support and a caring environment, there is no challenge we cannot overcome to renew and regenerate ourselves and our world.