Yoga Instructors Share Their Best Relationship Secrets
Don't Forget to Touch (Not Like That!)
"One of the biggest things that couples forget to do is touch each other, even when they are not being intimate," says Andrea Borrero, a yoga instructor at Pure Yoga in New York City. "A loving shoulder rub while you're watching TV, letting them rest their feet on your lap when you're reading, and even just holding hands helps keep the physical connection flowing so that when you want to get busy, you don't have to reacquaint from scratch."
Support Each Others' Passions
You've heard that whole thing about following your bliss, but yogis emphasize how important it is to support your boo in his or hers as well: "[My partner] is a golfer, so I try and go with him once a week to the course, while he comes to yoga classes with me when he can," says Maggie Barragan, a yoga instructor in Charleston, South Carolina and New York City, and co-founder of MyTapas Towels "Exhibiting interest in your partner's passions, even if they aren't your own, shows your love for that person and boosts connection."
If he's more into long runs and you're a kickboxing pro, make it a goal to try something out of your comfort zone for the other person. "Even if you think tennis or yoga isn't your thing, switching things up keeps your relationship fun and invigorating—try a new studio or class together, and make time afterwards to share your thoughts on the experience," says Larissa Hall Carlson, yoga instructor and Ayurveda wellness expert at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health.
Sync Your Breating
Try this simple exercise with your partner every day: "Match your breathing to your partner's and focus on long, deep inhales and exhales (do this to the count of four in, and six counts out)," says Baughman. This technique also can spark your time spent between the sheets, too. "When your breath is paired to each other, the movement in your bodies become in sync and that can make sex so much more enjoyable."
Stare at Each Other—Really
Sure, it may feel awkward at first, but many yogis and sex therapists alike attest to the power of eye contact. "Eye gazing is really the perfect way to enhance the sensuality of your relationship," says Christine Lewis, a Florida-based yoga instructor and ambassador for Just Live, a yoga apparel brand. Sitting comfortably in front of each other, look into each other's eyes without physically touching. Start with one or two minutes (yes, you're allowed to blink!) and eventually work your way up to five minutes. "Also use this eye-gazing technique during sex. This helps bring you closer to your partner as that mutual state of ecstasy approaches."
Speak Their Love Language
The word yoga itself can be understood to mean "a union," says Selena Reynolds, a yoga instructor at Menla Mountain Retreat Center in New York state's Catskills Mountains. You can practice building unity on and off the mat "by understanding what kind of sweetness we crave from our partners—a kind word, an action or gesture, touch—and expressing that sweetness back to them," says Reynolds. Try communicating on your partner's affection wavelength. If he needs to hear how you feel, try leaving sticky notes on the bathroom mirror for him. And always give positive reinforcement when they offer a kind gesture in your favorite manner (like that time he handled the laundry so you didn't have to wear a smelly sports bra again. (More: 8 Relationship Talks Every Couple Should Have for a Healthy Love Life)
Reconnect with Partner Poses
Partner poses are a wonderful way to boost your connection. "One of my favorites is very simple and effective," says Lara Falberg, a yoga instructor at Yoga on High in Columbus, Ohio, and creator of iworkbarefoot.com, an online resource for professional yogis. Sit back to back in a cross-legged position, line up your spines, and press the backs of your heads together. Place your left hand on your own right knee, reaching back with your right hand for your partner's left knee. They will do the same and you'll both twist to the right. There are also a variety of yoga classes geared towards couples, and even classes available where you'll perform group formations and synchronized poses.
Unwind Together After Sex
You just finished having sex and you're already flipping through the TV channels while your partner is checking his email. Sound familiar? Sadly, we often ride the post-sex bliss wave alone, but yoga gurus know that this is prime-time for strengthening your connection with each other. "We do a guided yoga nidra meditation [also known as 'sleep with awareness,''" says Barragan. "This technique helps melt tension and usher in calm, restorative sleep. The meditation helps put us both in a relaxed state of mind for deep rest together." You can simply light a candle and enjoy some snacks together in bed or take a bath together if that's more up your alley, but winding down as a couple can help promote unity and eases any lingering stress from the day that could be affecting your interactions.
Ban Phones from the Bedroom
You'd be hard-pressed to find a yoga instructor who breaks the no-phones-in-bed policy. "Nothing kills a moment like a push notification," says yoga instructor Rupa Mehta of the Nalini Method. You'll be amazed at what a big impact a tech break (even for an hour!) can have on your ability to connect. "Healthy bodies and healthy minds make for healthy relationships," says Mehta.
Try a New Kind of Foreplay
You may be quick to jump straight to your partner's hot spots, but yogis would urge you to slow down and consciously explore other areas of the body. "Caress each others' arms, inside the elbows, behind the knees, inside the thighs, and in between the toes," says Lewis. This becomes extremely erotic and turns regular foreplay into a different kind of arousal.
Get Your Chaturanga On Together
Go for a sweaty Bikram yoga session together, or head to that free outdoor boot camp class you've been meaning to try. Whether you're working out at home or in a class, stay close so you can listen to each others' breathing. "When you start paying attention to your partner's breath you become more aware of them and their body and more in tune with them in a whole new and deeper way," says Patrick Mason, a yoga instructor at TruFusion in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Try to keep pace with each other during transitions to create a more intimate connection."