Costa Rica Yoga JournalMark Goldstein

Partner Yoga

Thai Massage
Thai Massage

By Mark Goldstein

For many of us, yoga is a deeply personal experience. It is always a great yoga class when we are able to climb deeply into our own bodies and really experience the postures, nothing beats that……except maybe one thing……bringing someone else along.

When we partner up with another person, we can go even deeper into our poses and the entire yoga experience. Our yoga partner can be another student in the class, an instructor, or a Thai Yoga Massage therapist. Whoever it is, when someone else is physically helping to guide you into a pose, you will be able to go deeper and more fully into your postures.

Playa Yoga

When we are practicing yoga, we are using many of our muscles, for example when we need to stay balanced to not fall over, or when we use our arms to pull ourselves into a forward bend. Many muscles are needed to do these things.

mirrored boat
Mirrored Boat

When another person assists us, we are then able to release these same muscles, to let go of all effort, and to flow even deeper into the postures. Sometimes our helper is using their hands to assist us, other times they may be using their body weight to guide us safely and deeply into a pose. Working with a friend or loved one who comes with you to class is very common, for others, working with someone that they have never met before is more comfortable.

Many like to start out having their yoga teacher do all of the hands on help, and some will take it to another level all together and have a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist do the work. What is most important is that you are comfortable, and that you communicate before and during the pose with you partner.

In a class where you are practicing partner yoga, your instructor should be able to make sure that all goes smoothly and safely. Sometimes both partners are practicing the same pose at the same time, and assisting each other, as in “ mirrored boat”. In this case it is good to practice with someone close to your own size.

Stacked down dog
Stacked Down Dog

Other times your partner may be using his or her body weight to help you, as in “stacked down dog”. It is important to work with the right partner. Sometimes it is great to have some serious weight to help you go really deep into an assisted pose, and other times you may be working on a more delicate stretch and need to partner up with someone more petit. Some partner poses will allow you to try something that you would otherwise not practice, like a handstand, and your partner can help you by making sure that you don’t fall over. Like any posture in yoga, you should only practice what you are comfortable with, and with whomever you feel comfortable practicing. So, how do you get started with partner yoga?

The easiest way will be to come to my classes this month. I will be offering a few partner poses in all of my classes. I will also focus on partner poses with my private classes, we can practice on each other, or you can bring a friend.

Having a Traditional Thai Massage is a great way to receive all of the benefits of partner yoga, and in this case you are doing all of the receiving. Additionally, there is a lot of pressure point work included along with the stretches. During a Thai Massage you are comfortably clothed, yoga or workout clothes, and the session takes place on a large comfortable floor mat. Your therapist will bring your body through an ancient series of movements which are based in yoga theory. As mentioned before, hundreds of pressure points are activated with thumb and palm presses while in various positions. Receiving a Thai Massage is nothing like experiencing a yoga class, rather, it is based in the principles of yoga, but the recipient is completely passive, letting the therapist do all of the work. Thai Massage is a profoundly relaxing and healing experience. You do not need to be at all flexible to have a Thai Massage, you only need to enjoy being stretched.

So, if you would like to experience partner yoga, at any level, come to one of my classes, or set up a Thai Massage session. If you would like to learn more about Thai Massage I will be teaching a two day Introduction to Thai Massage course here in Manuel Antonio on August 13th and 14th. Please check my web site for all information on classes or for setting up an appointment. Yoga can be a wonderful part of your life, and I hope that I can be a part of opening that up to you.

Mark Goldstein lives in Manuel Antonio, and is originally from the United States. He is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Instructor of Thai Massage and a Yoga Instructor. Mark is the owner of PranaVida Wellness and Playa Yoga Costa Rica here in Manuel Antonio. For information call 88-38-69-60 or