Partner Yoga Stretches

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Apparel: Lululemon Athletica // Credits go to the Manasa Yoga Certified Yoga Instructors Chiew Wyn Nie and Jean Michelle Lee for their Yoga Pose Demonstration

Some of the best runs we experience are with friends. And what better way to finish off the run than a partner stretch (before makan!).

Here are a few yoga-inspired partner stretches you might like to try. A note of caution: the assisting partner should be receptive to the stretching partner at all times. Do not push or pull too hard in the stretches.

The stretching partner exhales to go deeper into the stretch, while giving verbal feedback if the assisting partner is pushing / pulling too much. Saying this, partner stretches are fun and will definitely help you go deeper in the stretch for a better recovery.

Again, please note that the following images and instructions are just guides. Both partners should be sensitive to the other, and do not force yourself into the shapes depicted below, especially if experiencing pain.


 Partner Paschimottanasa

  1. Both partners sit on the floor facing each other. If your hamstrings are not so flexible, place a blanket or yoga block under your buttocks. Sit heel to heel, with knees bent.
  2. The stretching partner might want to lean to the left and actively pull the right sit bone away from the heel, then repeat on the right.
  3. The stretching partner draws the inner groins deep into the pelvis. The stretching partner inhales, keeping the front torso long, leans forward from the hip joints, not the waist and catches the forearms of the helping partner.
  4. The helping partner might need to bend her knees, while the stretching partner lengthens the tailbone away from the back of her pelvis.
  5. The helping partner may draw backwards gently if the stretching partner can go deeper into the pose, maintaining a straight spine (rather than rounded).
  6. Stay here for a minute or more and repeat with the other partner.

 


Partner Paschimottanasa / Ustrasana

  1. One partner sits on the floor with the legs extended forward. Again, if the hamstrings are tight, place a blanket or yoga block underneath the buttocks (preparing for paschmittonasana).
  2. The other partner kneels on the floor behind the first, with her back towards the first partner, heels placed on either side of latter’s hips (preparing for ustrasana).
  3. The paschimottanasana partner inhales and straightens her spine, then exhales, reaching forward, folding forward through the hip rather than the waist.
  4. Meanwhile, the ustrasana partner inhales and extends her spine upward, gently lengthening her tailbone towards the ground, then reaches for her heels and opening up her chest and shoulders, and placing her upper back on the paschimottanasana partner.
  5. Stay here for a minute or more and repeat with the other partner.

 


 Partner Upavistha Konasana

  1. Both partners sit facing each other, with the stretching partner and with her legs opened as wide as is comfortable. The helping partner places her feet on the calves of the stretching partner.
  2. As previously, the stretching partner might want to lean to the left and actively pull the right sit bone away from the heel, then repeat on the right.
  3. The stretching partner draws the inner groins deep into the pelvis, then inhales,  keeping the front torso long, leans forward from the hip joints, not the waist and catches the forearms of the helping partner.
  4. Again, the helping partner might need to bend her knees, while the stretching partner lengthens the tailbone away from the back of her pelvis.
  5. The helping partner may draw backwards gently if the stretching partner can go deeper into the pose, maintaining a straight spine (rather than rounded).
  6. Stay here for a minute or more and repeat with the other partner.

 


Partner Adho Mukha Virasana / Supta Virasana

  1. The partner in adho mukha virasana goes on all fours. Inhaling, the partner arches her back, tilting pelvis forward. She widens her knees a bit more, while touching her toes. Keeping the anterior pelvic tilt, she draws her hips back to her heels, then gently releases the tilt and gets her tailbone to lengthen down and back. She walks her hands out, keeping her elbows off the mat.
  2. The partner in supta virasana kneels on the floor. If necessary, wedge a folded blanket under calves and thighs and sit on a yoga block. She slides her feet apart, wider than her hips, with the tops of the feet flat on the floor (if possible). She presses the top of each foot evenly on the floor.
  3. Partner in supta virasana sits back halfway, exhaling. She rolls the skin and flesh of the calf muscles outward away from her midline, then sits down between her feet.
  4. The supta virasana partner inhales, lengthening the spine, and then gently lies back on to the adho mukha virasana partner.

Note: In supta virasana, especially while lying back on your partner, if you feel any kind of strain on the knee, please sit on a block.

 


 Partner Kapotasana

  1. The stretching partner lies supine with knees bent, then places her right ankle on her left knee, while flexing her right foot.
  2. The helping partner, facing the stretching partner while standing, lifts the left leg of the stretching partner and places it on her right thigh. Then slowly the helping partner will move her right leg forward, whether walking forward or inching the right leg only forward in a split stance.
  3. The stretching partner tries to push with her right hand her right thigh above the knee towards the helping partner. A better stretch would be to use her right thigh muscles, rather than her hand, to get the knee away from her. The stretching partner also lengthens tailbone towards her stretching partner, rather than keeping an arch in the lower back.
  4. The helping partner tries to ensure the stretching partner’s hips are squared. Stay here for a minute or more to start with and repeat on the other side, followed by the other partner.

 


About Daniel: 
Daniel Chandranayagam is a yoga teacher, certified by Manasa School of Yoga. He is also an ACE certified personal trainer (T158691), working as a personal trainer and boot camp coach. Beginning his career in writing, Daniel decided to diversify into one of his life passions, fitness. Daniel begins a Yoga for Runners programme beginning from 2nd April 2014 at Manasa, SS2 Petaling Jaya. For more information, you can email him at dchandranayagam@gmail.com 

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