Jathara Parivartanasana (Revolved Abdomen Pose) registers as 5* on Iyengar’s 60* scale of difficulty.
Iyengar notes, “In the initial stages the right shoulder will be lifted off the floor. To prevent this ask a friend to press it down, or catch hold of a heavy piece of furniture with the right hand.” This is the first time throughout Light on Yoga that Iyengar suggests partner exercises as a useful way of deepening the experience of an asana.
Many people loathe partner work in a yoga class. I used to be one of them. Whenever a teacher would ask us to partner up, a sense of trepidation and irritation would arise in my mind. “Why do I have to have a partner? I came to yoga to be alone and do my own thing. Can I even trust this person?”
With time and with the help of great teachers who offered truly enlightening partner exercises in class, I began to see the benefits of this aspect of practice. Working with a partner enhances our knowledge of body mechanics within an asana, invites us to expand our practice off our solitary mats, and fosters trust and receptivity. When we collaborate with thoughtful partners in yoga class, we tap into a sense of community and shared passion for a practice that too often seems characterized by isolation.
If you’re interested in the more playful side of partner work, check out this fun series of partner exercises on Yoga Journal.
For teachers, read this great article in Yoga Journal about ways in which to safely introduce partner exercises into your classes.
How do you feel about partner work? Love it? Loathe it? Share your thoughts.