The word yoga is derived from a Sanskrit word that means ‘to unite’. Often this practice, which engages the body, mind and spirit, is thought of as an individual exercise but more and more it’s becoming a way for people to connect on a deeper level. Live Love Yoga Studio owner and yogi, Daniel Ellis, tells us about the benefits of couples yoga.
Yoga as a form of exercise is unique in that it’s rooted in meditation. For this reason it can be a key to building deeper bonds between couples. “What’s important in couples yoga, is meditation. When you put two people back to back and tell them to start breathing and to get in synchronisation with each other’s breathing, they start to follow a rhythm together, one breathes in while the other breathes out,” says Daniel.
In a world of ever growing distractions causing a breakdown of connections with one another, yoga can help couples who have grown out of sync with each other. “Sometimes people are in a relationship but after a while there’s no contact between them. Yoga can bring that back by giving them a sense of balance back. Once we do poses, they work together on alignment, focus and relaxation and when the two bodies get in sync with each other, it’s wonderful.”
Sharing a yoga session together also has a way of making couples confront their relationship challenges in order to work them out. “As far as relationships go, if there are any trust problems couples yoga will help to bring it back. In a moment where the guy is lying on his back with his feet up and the lady is on her tummy on his feet, he needs to hold on to her and she needs to know that he will.
“Often, when couples come in for the first time, there’s hesitation. They don’t think they can do the different poses together. After about four or five sessions, however, they’ll be jumping up into positions because they’ve built trust with one another. It’s really beautiful.”
The intimate nature of couples yoga engages the senses. Warm skin touches, the couple breathes as a pair and see each other in new and adventurous postures. So it’s no wonder that after an hour’s session partners can find it a sensuous experience. “It can become sensual because it’s not just normal hugging. They have to lift their partner’s legs and hold up their body, which may be outside of their daily interactions together, giving a different perspective on each other. Without even noticing it, people start to grow on each other. There’s power in touch and it’s very important to the longevity of a bond.”
Part of being a successful couple is the ability to complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses. In yoga this is not just a mental or emotional factor but a physical one too. This can be just as beneficial for new couples as it is for couples who want reignite their spark. “You help each other in the postures. So when one person doesn’t have the flexibility and the other one does, you compromise and find a point to meet each other half way in order to do a yoga position.”
Live Love Yoga Studio has been running for four years and offers various forms of yoga for individuals, couples and families. For more information about this amazing local studio visit www.liveloveyogastudio.co.za
Text: NOMAQHAWE MTEBELE