An Embodied Yoga Principles approach to Partner or Group Yoga can reveal deep insights about our relationships with others, in a safe and ethical way. Done correctly, EYP workshops provide clear structure, whilst encouraging clear verbal communication and proactive consenting from participants.
Having lead and assisted at a few partner yoga workshops myself, I’d like to share a simple workshop structure with you that has been tried, tested, and refined. Here is my recipe for a 2-3 hour workshop. Feel free to swap in a few ingredients depending on what you have in your store cupboard. Remember to schedule in ample time for breaks, as partner exercises can get intense! Debriefs after each exercise are also essential.
• Ground rules and workshop structure. (Psst... ground rules include confidentiality.)
• Brief explanation of EYP — What is the mind-body logic behind EYP and what are its aims? Who is EYP for? Who is it not for?
• Explain how partner yoga differs from normal EYP and why it is useful.
Warm Up (in a circle):
• Child’s to arrive in the space and reconnect with Self
• Cat/Cow in a circle to explore introversion/extroversion
• Striking Cobra with neck twisting to acknowledge others
Seated Partner Sequence:
• Find a partner and sit back to back, feel your/their breath
• Side stretches, twists, lean forwards and backwards, etc.
• Change pairs, nominate a “doer” and a “helper”
• Doer goes through Child’s, Cat/Cow, Fwd Fold, Down Dog with gentle assistance from Helper
Dynamic Part — exploring trust, balance, and teamwork:
• Holding hands to lean out while standing (establish trust)
• Plank onto Down Dog (more athletic variations are fun too)
• Collaborative balancing postures: variations on Tree, Warrior 3, etc.
• One person leads, the other follows
Normal EYP Postures:
Teach each posture individually then try in pairs. Partners are either working together, or one is assisting or disrupting the other. Occasionally change the direction participants are facing to shift the dynamic.
• Yoga competitions
• Group work, e.g. collaborative boat
• Care stuff, e.g. head holding, asking for what you want
• Action points — micro-postures, practising with a partner at home, etc.
• Wrap up — encourage feedback and facilitate a final discussion.