Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if you are seeking fun new ways to celebrate with your partner this year, think no further than your yoga mat.
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While a “traditional” Valentine’s Day with flowers and a romantic dinner is always nice, bringing yoga into your relationship is a fun way to deepen your connection—or “union”—with your partner.
A fun and popular trend in yoga right now is acrobatic yoga, or “acro yoga.” Arco yoga is practiced in pairs, with one person lying on the floor (the “base”) while supporting the other person in the air (the “flyer”) with his or her feet. Arco yoga encourages trust and playfulness of the practicing partners in order to find balance and stability. Lex Peters, an experienced acro yoga coach, calls the practice collaborative, offering partners an opportunity to “accommodate and care for the other person.” And hey, that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, right?
If flying is not your “thing,” then consider another type of yoga where your feet remain firmly planted on the ground. Many classes offer exploratory experiences for couples where you are taught to offer sweet, nurturing assists to one another in different poses, giving you both a chance offer and receive loving touch. Research your area’s local studios to learn about these opportunities, as well as other offerings like basic partner yoga with Thai massage.
If you have trouble finding a couples-themed yoga class, consider taking a regular yoga class with your significant other. If you’ve been tired or working hard, try a restorative class to relax and reinvigorate your energy. If you enjoy a physical challenge, set your mats next to one another in a hot yoga or vinyasa class. Some couples may even consider a wine or beer and yoga pairing event, or a weekend trip to a yoga retreat for a luxurious yoga-vacation!
For couples who have never practiced yoga together, you may be surprised at what arises when you venture into your first class together. Yoga encourages us to open up and get vulnerable. Yoga asks us to trust. During our practice, we enter into realms of the self that are more spiritually aware and less ego-centric. We may even release habits that hold us back from being emotionally available to ourselves and our partners. This Valentine’s Day, choose a practice that works for both of you, and explore what you find with your partner. Embrace and face your own personal edges and discomforts, while holding a safe space next to your partner as they do the same. Practicing yoga together offers a chance to face challenges together—with love, compassion and trust. This process, plus a little courage (especially if you try acro yoga!) may not only give a boost to your practice—but to your relationship as well.
If none of these ideas seem accessible to you, simplify it even more. Set aside some time on Valentine’s Day to simply sit together and breathe. This provides you with a chance to slow down, connect and align your energies—not to mention, it can be surprisingly intimate! Create an inviting atmosphere in a quiet space, sit close together, and fall into a rhythm of breathing while holding hands. You may even try placing a hand on each other’s sternums to feel the subtle movements of one another’s breath. Notice if, through this practice, your breathing becomes synchronized or changes in quality in any way. Sometimes the most romantic moments are the most simple and essential.
Finally, if you are not in a partnership this year, you can still, without a doubt, treat yourself to some yoga. Make your practice extra sweet this week by including a personal foot massage in bound angle pose. Bring a tennis ball to class and massage the muscles of your shoulders and back before shavasana. Treat yourself the way you would treat a lover, because you are just as special.