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The hottest new trend hitting the yoga community is far less independent and far more collective than your typical yoga practice. Rather than staying glued to your yoga mat and desperately avoiding eye contact with everyone else in the room, partner yoga classes invite yogis to connect on a much deeper level, engaging in everything from steady eye contact to therapeutic touch to playful acrobatic moves with one another. That said, partner yoga does not have to mean hyper-advanced circus-like flying across the yoga studio, and can be practiced in much more subtle, haha yoga style.
Partner yoga is celebrated internationally for connecting two people in the creation of new, dynamic and supported yoga postures that use a fellow human body to add resistance, depth and new expression to the postures. Partner yoga is an exciting new way to approach your yoga practice accompanied by your partner, friend, family member or even stranger in one of the most powerful team building exercises out there.
The Need for Touch
The following examples show the drastic need for more touch in our society:
- When a cat cafe opened in downtown Toronto last year (a few blocks from my house), people patiently waited in long lineups to snuggle up with some stray cats over a cozy cup of tea.
- I teach private yoga at various tech startups that welcome pets in the workplace, noting the emotional benefits of a midday cuddle.
- Almost every summer weekend in Toronto at Yonge and Dundas Square, you can find strangers with kind smiles and open arms offering “free hugs”, and, ever more beautifully, people from all different walks of life, taking them up on their offer.
- In the UK, a cuddle cafe – complete with stuffed toys – recently opened with the sole intention of increasing happiness levels. In Japan, the new trend is rabbit cafes.
- Most tellingly, if you are feeling lonely and ‘out of touch’, the Rose Sheep service in Tokyo will send you someone to sleep by your side and cuddle you to bed (nothing more than snuggles). The cuddling service is increasingly popular with married women in their 30’s and 40’s.
Once upon a time, I had this grand dream that I could record a cheeky (but functional) series of airplane yoga videos on a flight, send it to the Presidents of Air Canada and Westjet, and be hired to film an in-flight yoga program. It almost worked, except after 3 minutes I was shut down by the flight attendant for illegally filming on an airplane.
The holidays are hard on our bodies and our stress levels. Staying balanced is key to coming back to reality in January without feeling guilt and shame over a month of binge eating and binge drinking without our regular fitness, yoga and wellness routines. I can be found guilty of this every single year. Each holiday season, my husband and I spend most of the time either on the road driving to a holiday party or salivating over cheese plates. While I always drag my yoga mat with me in hopes of hitting up a local yoga studio, the truth is… it never happens. Last year, I was so grateful for those quiet moments between festivities where I could roll out my yoga mat in my childhood bedroom to stretch (and digest) out my holiday gluttony. This year, I am sharing my beloved yin yoga for digestion routine with you.