Relational Yoga Sequence: how-to guide

Practicing basic breathing and movement in a pair or group can provide a powerful sense of reconnection to ourselves and one another.

This simple sequence can be practiced well in about 15-20 minutes. I have shared this in yoga classes, on leadership retreats, and at organizing workshops. You can use it anywhere -- there are not specific space, material, clothing, or physical ability needs.

It can help you and your group:

  • Get more connected to your heart and allow the nervous system to down-regulate
  • Experience a physical sense of support that creates the possibility of softening to vulnerability
  • Build connection, bonding, and embodied sense of interdependence

This demonstration video shows you the basic sequence as well as modifications to support varying physical needs. This is shown at a demo pace, so if you are sharing this with your group, take your time to give a full 5 breaths in each pose. Feel free to add some theming or storytelling that relates to your group and what you're up to together, insert into your yoga class, or keep it simple and use it as-shown.

Sequence steps for reference while leading:

  • Invite people who are comfortable with touch on their hand and upper back to pair up (recommend the wall for those who would prefer not to share touch, and use chairs if standing or sitting on the floor is not attainable)
  • Palms together with arms straight
    • One partner presses fingers toward the other; reverse direction
    • Turn fingertips toward back of room and step toward one another
  • Step closer, place one hand behind partner's heart and other hand on your own
    • Step inside foot back to Warrior I
    • Inhale lift the heart to backbend with support
  • Back-to-back breathing, seated
    • Lean forward, reverse
    • Observe your partner's breath through your back
  • Thank one another

Comment here to let me know how it goes leading this sequence, if you have any questions, and if you invent any creative additions. Good luck!

-- Kate

Big thank you to Hala Khouri of Off the Mat Into the World for the standing series, and Celia Kutz of Training for Change for the inspiration for the seated back-to-back breathing. And thank you to Linda Wenzel for demonstrating with me!