Why The Benefits Of Yoga Double When You Do It With A Friend

Photo: Renee Choi

If you're in tune with the wellness world, you probably know by now that yoga and meditation can help to reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate chronic pain, and enhance overall well-being.

While a restorative yoga practice aims to do all of the above, it can be difficult to put these relaxation techniques into practice during busy, strenuous circumstances. With family obligations, parties, travel, and shopping, the holiday season can keep our brains active despite our best attempts to wind down. How can we work with the natural, human stresses of life and return to balance? Implement the buddy system, recruit a friend, and hold each other accountable.

No matter who we choose to practice with or when we choose to practice, research continuously shows that building friendships results in a greater sense of belonging and alleviates depression. Our social bonds are scientifically proven to help us live not only a happier life but a longer one—which is why the message of You. We. All. is so important.

Yoga can also be considered a form of moving meditation—it's a means of connecting with and tuning in to ourselves. Dr. John Douillard explains, "According to ayurveda, meditation disarms this protective nervous system by increasing parasympathetic nervous system activity, which is the body’s repairing nervous system. This enhances self-awareness of the painful area on both a physical, mental, and even emotional level. Once the body has become fully aware of the painful area as a problem, the body’s natural pharmacy can kick in and help resolve the pain."

Sharing a restorative yoga sequence with a trusted companion can offer up the combined benefits of lifting spirits and making it easier for us to actually relax. Consider experimenting with the restorative yoga sequence below during the holidays (and beyond) with someone whose company you enjoy.

Restorative twist.

Photo: Renee Choi

Start with your back to your partner and begin to sync your breath. From there, one of you can twist to the right while the other twists to the left. Breathe for three counts.

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Stonehenge.

Photo: Renee Choi

Lie down on your back and bring your calves to rest on a couch, chair, or any other elevated surface. Lift your hands above your head and grasp opposite elbows. Breathe deep.

Legs up the wall.

Photo: Renee Choi

Start lying on your back with your butt as close to a wall as possible. From there, bring your legs to rest against the wall. Bring your arms above your head and stay there for as long as you want.

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Supported meditation.

Photo: Renee Choi

Sit with your back to your partner, and take a deep breath together. From there, place your palms to your knees, bring them to face up, and drop into your meditation.

This story is co-authored by Sasha Nelson and Aditi Shah.

Want more ideas for yoga flows? Here's a yoga flow for productivity.

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