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Practice with Clara

Better Together (30-min) Yin

Join Clara and a guest partner for a slow yin class. This class features hands-on assists for you and a partner to explore as you move through three yin yoga poses. Hamstring lengthening, hip opening, and twists are featured for you to release the muscles in the legs and relax in your breath. With your partner, you’ll take turns assisting each other to go deeper into each pose, or if you’re on your own, simply do the poses and adjust as necessary.

There is no Spotify playlist for this class. If you’re working with a partner, listen to each other’s breath and talk to each other to guage the depth and pressure of each assist. If you’re doing this class alone, feel free to add you’re own music or enjoy the sound of your breath moving through your body.

Style: Yin

Duration: 30-minutes

Level: open-levels

Props: 1 block

Focus: partner yoga with hamstring and hip opening, and reclined twists.

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

Whenever we work with a partner in yoga, we’re working with energy exchange. How we position ourselves, move around our partner, breath, and use our bodies to assist the depth of each pose, affects the energy with our partner and in the room. Be conscious of how you attune to the person you’re working with. Be direct in how you communicate with your partner.

One person will move through each of the three poses featured, and then you’ll switch after taking some time for savasana or seated meditation to close the practice.

A few things to note in partner yoga:

  1. Breathe with your partner. Soften and deepen your breath together to encourage a state of calm and relaxation.
  2. Give your partner space between poses. Move off and away from the mat and allow your partner a few breathes between poses.
  3. Apply a little bit of pressure and check-in with your partner before applying more pressure in each of the poses.
  4. When you come out of the assist, move slowly and gently, so you don’t disrupt or startle your partner.
  5. Rub your palms together to create a little heat before placing your palms if they’re cold.
  6. Count an even number of breaths in each pose.

Pose 1: Wind Release Pose 

There is no assist for this pose; if you’re assisting, give your partner some space.

For those taking the pose, lay on your back and draw one knee to your chest.

Take the leg slightly toward your armpit and press the back of the pelvis into the ground.

This shape releases the hip flexor on the extended leg.

Pose 2: Reclined Hamstring Stretch

If you’re assisting in this shape, give your partner a little space as you rise to take the extended leg in your palm.

This shape actively lengthens and strengthens the hamstring of the extended leg.

Pressing the heel into the palm of your partner strengthens the hamstring through resistance. For those with open hamstrings, this protects overextension of the muscle.

If you’re assisting, check in with your partner to see how much pressure you can apply.

The more pressure you apply at the heel, the deeper the pose.

For those assisting, use your body weight to apply pressure as opposed to just your arm; this will make it easier over time.

Take a moment to pause between sides.

Pose 3: Reclined Pigeon Pose

If you’re assisting in this shape, give your partner space as they set up for the pose.

For those taking the pose, create a number four shape with your legs for reclined pigeon pose. Take your hands to the back of your hamstring.

To assist this pose, take a hold of the foot that’s extended and place it on your thigh above the knee cap. One hand stays on the foot, the opposite hand goes to the thigh of the leg that is bent in a number four shape. This assist helps to deepen the opening in the outer glutes of your partner.

Take a moment to pause between sides.

Pose 4: Reclined Spinal Twist

If you’re assisting in this shape, give your partner space as they set up for the pose.

If you’re taking this pose, feel free to use a block between your thighs to support your legs as you take both knees over to one side of your mat.

To assist this pose, stay low as you take one hand to the head of the shoulder of the extended arm and the other palm to the top of the hip. On the exhale breath, draw the hip away from the chest to create space in the side body of your partner.

Take a moment to pause between sides.

Pose 4: Savasana or Seated Meditation 

Take a few moments in savasana or seated meditation with your partner before you switch positions.