When bringing a multitude of generations together to practice, it is fun to get creative and get involved in partner poses. Having the support of a partner, allows for extra stability in balancing poses, and it allows different generations to come together to play, touch and get a great physical “work-out” as well as a mental “work-in.” Make-sure to “check-in” with your partner to see that they feel safe and supported in each and every partner pose.
To move into the balancing pose, Supportive Airplane Pose, or also known as Warrior III or Virabhadrasana III: Stand far enough away from your partner that when you reach forwards with the hands, you can barely touch them. Come to standing face-to-face with you partner in Mountain Pose, Tadasana. Stand with the feet parallel and hip-width distance apart.
Prepare to “lift-off” by taking a full-round of breath, slow and deep inhalation and exhalation. Ground down through the feet in order to find a stable foundation. On an inhale breath, lift the arms up over the head. Shift the weight to the right foot. On an exhale breath, reach forward with the hands. Hinge at the hips and begin to lift the left leg up behind you. Grab for your partners hands as you continue to move slowly and mindfully.
Find a point of focus or drishti gaze, looking straight forward. Option to look into your partners eyes for support. “Check-in” to see that your partner is feeling supported and grounded. Lift the back leg as high as the hips or as high as it is comfortable and you can find balance. Even lifting the back foot a half-inch off of the ground requires balance and concentration.
Find balance and focus on the breath. Reach energy out the back leg and lift the chest, expanding the area in between the collarbones. Draw the shoulder-blades down the back and draw the low-belly in towards the spine. Drop the left hip in-line with the right. Relax the face and the jaw.
Stay here and breathe for 3-5 full rounds of breath. Create slow and even inhales and exhales.
To come out of the pose: slowly begin to lower the back leg and bring the torso back upright. Repeat the same instructions on the opposite side of the body, moving slowly, mindfully and checking-in with your partner.
Set a personal intention while practicing partner yoga. Take a moment to validate a feeling, emotion or quality into your practice. Find something to motivate you to move towards a deeper level than the physical aspects of the pose and create a mantra (a word or slogan repeated in order to bring meaning or a spiritual nature to your practice).
Some ideas for intentions or mantras: to focus on the presence moment or mantra, “I am present”. To focus on bringing more peace into your practice: say, “I am at peace”. To focus on letting go of what no longer serves you, say to yourself, “I am letting go”. Other ideas for intentions may be to practice self-acceptance, practice trusting yourself, or perhaps relying on a higher power and trusting the “unfolding” process of the universe.
Smile at your partner and thank them for supporting you. It is okay to laugh at yourself, smile and have fun while connecting with your partner. Ask your partner where they would fly if they could go anywhere in the world. Remember that it doesn't matter what the pose looked like or if you and your partner wobbled and fell out of the pose.
Acknowledge your own efforts as well as your partner's. Notice how you feel after working to find balance and mindful movements in your body and mind. Notice if your body feels lighter and more at ease.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga and breathing techniques. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, 500 hr. cert. yoga instructor and owner of In Rhythms Yoga
Christi Iacono is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor, kids yoga instructor, and owner of In Rhythms Yoga. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. She guides adults, kids and families in the ancient tradition of yoga. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her daily personal practice. She is passionate about sharing her experience, inspiration, and dedication with her students. She is committed to being a life-long student and teacher of the practice. Christi carefully works with each student in order to find the variation that best serves their body, finding the balance of effort and ease in every posture, “sthira sukham asanam.” Yoga is accessible to all.
IRY offers regularly scheduled vinyasa and yin-based classes on, Sat., Sun. (Yin-Yoga) and Wed. mornings as well as Tues. and Thurs. evening classes.
Donation-based yoga class:
Sat., March 7th, 9-10:15 am, proceeds donated to NEDA, National Eating Disorders Association.
*Christi uses Young Living Oils at the studio to enhance yoga class, meditation and in her home. She can help you learn more about how to bring essential oils into your life for better health, ambiance and aromatherapy. Visit http://www.apothecarysociety.com/ciacono to learn more.
Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full yoga schedule, instructors and for private lessons.