Couples yoga helps partners to connect.

13 Couples Yoga Poses for Your Mind, Body and Relationship

By: Renee Kwok

Scientifically Reviewed By: Michael A. Smith, MD

Have you ever felt disconnected from your partner or feel like you're worlds away while in the same room? Relationships have their ups and downs. Like machines, they need to be oiled in order to run smoothly.

One way to maintain closeness is to make space to check in with each other. This can help avoid a deeper disconnection. Not sure how to do that? Good news! Yoga, which may already be part of your self-care routine, is a great way to practice couples care!

Partner yoga, or couples yoga, gives you and your intimate partner a chance to connect, body and mind. It also helps build trust and intimacy while you strengthen your body. And it can do wonders for your core muscles.

Any couple seeking to rekindle love, find the spark, deepen their connection or improve sexual health can benefit from partner yoga practice.

What is couples yoga?

Most people have heard of or practiced some form of yoga. Typically, that yoga practice is individual. In couples yoga, or partner yoga, two people practice yoga poses together, not side by side, but as a team.

Partner yoga sometimes involves the same pose, or asana. But sometimes this yoga practice calls for two different poses that are in harmony, so the bodies fit like two jigsaw puzzles together, doubling the fun and pleasure. In these postures, both bodies leverage weight to create an assisted pose, which connects them physically, energetically and spiritually.

When both partners are open to playfully practice these poses to strengthen their bodies and minds, they come out stronger as a couple. Partner yoga helps couples learn how to effectively communicate, both verbally and nonverbally, which deepens their connection. By following cues and working together as a team toward a common goal, they help build trust and a closer bond.

In some partner yoga poses, one partner is stretching while the other partner supports. This is a great way to reinforce love and surrender. Practicing yoga together involves a lot of physical touch, which can be comforting; it also helps establish safe space for each other. Moving in sync and practicing partner breathing can foster relaxation, harmony, empathy, self-awareness and intimacy.

Best of all, neither partner needs to be a yoga expert to enjoy these benefits. You can both be beginners. While for some the word "yoga" may bring to mind high-flying handstands, double plank poses and other acro yoga scenes, none of these moves are in our couples yoga below—although, if you're an experienced yogi and want to try more advanced moves, we're not standing in your way!

13 couples yoga poses

For beginners

These poses are beginner friendly, so if you or your partner is new to yoga, start here. The key is to remember to be gentle with each other. Yoga is not a competition. Keep an open mind and heart, and only do what you can while keeping it fun. Enjoy the journey!

1. Seated grounding pose

  • Partners should sit cross-legged, back-to-back, on a yoga mat.
  • Extend arms out and clasp hands palm to palm. The taller partner with longer arms should have their arms on top. Rest clasped hands with fingers extended on the floor.
  • Inhale and raise the arms up. Let the air fill up your chest and throat.
  • Exhale and lower arms. Breathe out as slowly as possible.
  • Close your eyes and quiet the mind for a few breaths, listening to your breathing. Repeat for five rounds.

Mindful tip: While syncing your breathing, set an intention. State to yourself what you would like to achieve or feel during this yoga session and feel sincere gratitude for this time and space with your companion.

2. Seated crescent

  • Sit back to back with hands clasped. (Remember, the taller partner's arms go on top.)
  • Inhale and extend arms out at shoulder height.
  • Exhale and extend one clasped hand to the ground (agree on the same side) while raising the opposite hand overhead. Stay in the pose for three minutes or 10 breaths.
  • Come back to center and take a few deep breaths before repeating on the other side.

Mindful tip: Verbally check in with one another to make sure both partners feel good in the pose. Relax and breathe through any discomfort that may come up, and don't be hard on yourself if this one is tough—have compassion for your partner as well.

3. Seated twist

  • Sit crossed legged on your yoga mat, back to back. Hands stay clasped, palm to palm. Stay centered and connected to your breath.
  • Inhale and sit up tall.
  • Exhale and release hands. Both partners turn their upper body to place their right hand on their partner's left knee and their left hand outside their own right knee or thigh.
  • Hold here, allowing your slow, relaxed breath to move you further into the twist for five breaths. Lift your spine taller to get more space to twist.
  • Inhale to come back to center. Take a cleansing breath, then reset your hands to repeat the pose on the other side.

Mindful tip: Keep your backs connected and press your hands onto them to leverage into a fuller twist.

Intermediate level couples yoga

With these beginner poses completed, try to build some heat and fire up some muscles over the next few poses. These poses can build core strength and intimacy.

4. Supported chair

  • Partners stand facing each other with feet hip-width apart.
  • Reach and grasp your partner at the forearms or elbows.
  • Inhale and look into each other's eyes.
  • Exhale and both slowly and simultaneously press feet into the mat and sit back to hip level. Communicate and stop the downward motion if it becomes too challenging or you lose balance.
  • Hold the pose. Take five long, deep breaths, or hold as long as both partners are able.
  • Exhale and stand all the way up and release each other's arms.

Mindful tip: It's OK to laugh; don't take your practice too seriously. This is a strengthening pose that can be challenging, so agree on your verbal and non-verbal communication. The key here is to be playful so you keep the energy light. Relationships need consistent work, communication and fun to get stronger.

5. Partner tree pose, or twin tree

  • Start in standing position, side by side, facing forward.
  • Wrap your inside arm around your partner's hip and hold your outside hand in front of you at the centerline, touching your partner's hand, palm to palm.
  • Both stand on the inside leg and bend the outside knee to place outside foot on the inside of your standing leg. Stay in pose for five breaths.
  • Lower legs and arms. Rest for a breath. Switch sides to repeat.

Mindful tip: This yoga pose encourages team connection. Partners lean onto each other or hold each other up if they start to fall. Over time, this yoga posture can build trust. Balancing poses also train our strength. Don't get discouraged if you don't get it at first. Give each other grace and time, and smile and laugh through the tough parts. Encourage each other to stay in balance, and reassure each other that it is OK to fail. Restart the pose if needed. This energy is important to instill and carry with you when things get tough in a relationship.

6. Warrior II or Parsva Virabhadrasana

  • Stand back to back with arms extended at shoulder height. Clasp hands palm to palm.
  • Legs should be arm's length apart.
  • Partner 1, turn your right toes to the right. Partner 2 mirrors the movement with the left foot. Partner 1 moves left heel a little to the left, while partner 2 mirrors the move with the right. Bend right knee (your partner will bend the left) to align over ankle.
  • Keep bodies connected at shoulders and hips, and lean lightly on your partner to stay centered and balanced.
  • Bring gaze past middle finger of front extended hand.
  • Stay in pose and breathe together for five breaths.
  • Straighten your legs then repeat on the other side while your partner mirrors you.

Mindful tip: Take notice if either person seems wobbly. If it's just one of you, then the partner can try to be more supportive. It might be both, so work to find balance together.

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7. Reverse warrior lunge back

  • Stay standing back to back. Enter the Warrior II pose with hands clasped.
  • Inhale and bring your front hands up overhead and reach back. Bring gaze up toward the ceiling.
  • Exhale and relax other hand, sliding it down the back leg.
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths. Then return to Warrior II and repeat the reverse lunge on the other side.

Mindful tip: Take deeper breaths when yoga feels hard, and remind each other to breathe deep and slow. This shared space for physical support in couples yoga encourages emotional release, enhances mood and strengthens connection.

8. Double triangle

  • Stand back to back in a wide legs stance with feet about 2-1/2 feet apart.
  • Partner 1 turns their right foot to point to the front of the mat. Partner 2 mirrors with the left foot.
  • Extend arms forward and back at shoulder height and clasp hands palm to palm.
  • Bend at the hip and let your right hand (your partner's left hand) drop onto shin or knee. Then together extend other fingers skyward and bring gaze up toward the ceiling. Hold for three breath cycles.
  • Straighten to starting pose and repeat on the other side.

Mindful tip: Lean back to give each other support, but don't knock your partner over. Make some space if needed.

9. Back to back wide legged forward fold

  • Stand back to back with legs one leg length apart. Put hands on hips.
  • Exhale and bend forward at the hip.
  • Inhale and extend your spine into a flat back, parallel to the mat.
  • Exhale and fold forward as much as possible. Reach your hands through your legs toward your partner's hands. Clasp hands to start, then possibly reach further for wrists, elbows or shoulders depending on your flexibility.

Mindful tip: This forward fold is an opportunity to be considerate and communicate how far your body can extend and how to deepen the pose safely by expressing your need for space or pressure. Remember to show grace and kindness to your partner to create a safe space to expand together.

Modification: This pose is considered an inversion. If you get dizzy, stand back up and turn to face each other. Then both partners fold forward halfway and rest their arms on their partner's shoulders.

10. Child's pose and backbend

This pose involves a base partner (the one closest to the ground) in juxtaposition with a top person (the one who is on top of the base partner).

  • Partner 1 starts in table top pose, on hands and knees, and brings their big toes together to touch. Then sit back toward the heels. If there is a gap between the bottom and heels, place a cushion or folded blanket to fill it.
  • Slide both arms down beside the body, pointing to the feet. Fold the chest lower over or between the thighs in child's pose.
  • Partner 2 sits down behind Partner 1, facing away from them toward the back of the mat, with legs extended.
  • Partner 2 then leans back to lie on Partner 1's back, falling into a supported backbend. Both spines will align over another and the person in child's pose will get an assist and slight compression along their hips and back simultaneously.
  • Hold the posture for five breaths or more then switch positions.

Mindful tip: Get into the pose slowly, especially when making contact, and stay tuned in to what your partner is experiencing. Communicate your needs to your partner, such as "lean farther back" or "that's too much pressure, come up a bit." Give positive feedback to let your partner know what feels good and works well.

11. Double seated straddle

  • Sit upright facing each other with legs apart as far as they can extend outward without overextending.
  • Press your feet against your partner's feet, or the shorter person can place their feet anywhere along their partner's legs. Keep toes pointing upward.
  • Clasp hands or arms, smile and breathe gently with your partner.
  • As you feel comfortable, increase the stretch by widening the legs out. Or one person can lean back, pulling on the arms so their partner folds forward to deepen the stretch into the lower back.
  • Hold for five breaths. Sit up then swap roles leaning and folding.

Mindful tip: Keep your breathing deep and keep communicating what each partner needs. Share feedback and directions.

12. Lifted cobra

  • Base partner lies face down on the mat with legs straight and arms by their side.
  • Top partner stands over them with feet on either side of their hips.
  • Inhale. Top person bends knees to reach down to grasp their partner's wrists, then slowly lifts them up.
  • Exhale. Top partner straightens their legs to stand up while pulling their partner up into a backbend. Do this SLOWLY. Top partner should ask and listen for feedback—communication is key to creating a safe space together so this feels good for both.
  • Hold for five breaths then switch roles and repeat.

Mindful tip: For the person on the floor getting the assisted backbend, take deep breaths and surrender to the stretch. It is important to communicate with your partner so they know how much they can lift you into the backbend. Listen to your body to see how far it can go.

13. Double savasana

  • Lie down on the floor side by side, feet pointing in opposite directions. Place your inside hand onto partner's abdomen and your other hand on your heart or on top of your partner's hand.
  • Close your eyes and slow your breathing, allowing your bodies to calm down.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Inhale and observe the breath moving from your belly, widening your ribs and chest.
  • Exhale slowly until all air has emptied from lungs.
  • Tune into the stillness and presence of peace within you and your surroundings.
  • Surrender to this moment for five minutes or more.
  • End your couples yoga session with meditation. Let feelings of gratitude bubble up and share your thoughts and appreciation with each other.
  • Make your way to seated position, look into each other's eyes and experience silence together.

What are the benefits of doing yoga with a partner?

One of the most immediate benefits of couples yoga is the effect of comforting and supportive physical touch during this type of yoga. Research has found physical touch has a calming effect and can help with stress management, which supports both mental and physical health.

Also, a study on 128 couples found that the time spent practicing yoga had a positive effect on those couples' relationship satisfaction, as well as mindfulness and emotional intelligence.

Couples yoga gives partners the chance to practice communication—which is widely regarded as the top skill that makes or breaks a relationship. Partners in this style of yoga must listen to each other, stay present and be honest to get into the poses and make them work.

Also in this type of yoga, partners must work together to apply more or less pressure, move up or down, lean in, breathe through discomfort, and find stillness. That teamwork helps partners develop trust, raises their emotional awareness of themselves and each other, encourages kindness and fosters intimacy.

Yoga's benefits aren't only for couples. Research has found yoga can help other family relationships as well. A study on 115 people found that practicing yoga as a family may help overall family functioning.

Ultimately, partner yoga helps cultivate a deeper energetic and spiritual connection as well as physical fitness. For romantic partners, couples yoga can be a practice of love, trust and passion that offers a pathway to a stronger intimate bond.

Other ways to support intimacy

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About the Author: Renee Kwok is yoga instructor who has taught various yoga styles and levels for more than 13 years. Her passion is showing others how to achieve clear mindset, vitality and wellness by connecting the mind and body. When she’s not teaching yoga, she offers Reiki energy therapy and intentional journaling, and she continues to explore healthy alternatives to nourish the body and mind as we age gracefully.