Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2016

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Page 19 of 43

O ftentimes in love r e l a t i o n s h i p s , we lose sight of our partners. Some- times quite literally! Busy schedules minimize time spent together, and dai- ly routines and stress block our appreciation and gratitude for the people we hold most dear. Practicing partner yoga establishes trust and creates a playful environment to explore conscious communica- tion through eye contact, touch and movement. As we share intimacy and reveal vulnerabilities, dis- putes and disagreements naturally emerge. Practicing partner yoga helps us to really see another person and remind us of the traits we value. Try this 30-minute, beginner-level practice for two people to re-establish trust and open pathways to the fun and playfulness we all crave. Total time: 30 minutes Materials: Two yoga mats, two med- itation cushions and a timer (avail- able on most phones). If you don't have a meditation cushion, use a folded blanket. First, roll out the yoga mats side-by- side and parallel so the long sides of the mats are touching each other. Put one meditation cushion or blan- ket in the center of each mat and toward the outer edge so that you have enough room to sit facing each other. Set the timer within reach. To begin, sit cross-legged or on your heels with the spine straight. Your partner's pose doesn't have to mirror yours; the focus is having a straight spine. If necessary, use the meditation cushion or blanket under the sitz bones to assist with lengthening spine. Engage slightly through the core so the chest is open and collarbones are broad. Place your hands on your thighs with palms facing down. Set the timer for fi ve minutes. With the spine straight and chest open, close your eyes. Elongate the breath and breathe slowly in and out through the nose. Continue for fi ve minutes focusing on the sensation of the breath moving in and out of the nose. For people with very busy minds, it is helpful to focus on the breath moving both in and out of the nose, and the belly moving back and forth. Once the mind is calm, you can move on to Seated Gazing. Set the timer for fi ve minutes. Continue to elongate the breath, but keep your eyes open. Relax the muscles in your face and jaw. Look into your partner's eyes and continue for fi ve minutes. Notice the emotions that come up. You'll have time to discuss them in the next exercise. Close this practice with a Namaste bow, which acknowledges the divine in each other. Place palms to touch, thumbs at heart center. Close your eyes and bow. The next exercise is Active Listening. Set the timer for fi ve min- utes. Partner One will use this time to talk about feelings and sensations that arose in Seated Gazing. Partner Two practices yoga & spirit By Kaci Yoh Use yoga to help reestablish closeness between partners CLOSING THE DISTANCE 20 wholelifetimes.com

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