Each year around Valentine’s Day, Cliff and I do a partner yoga restorative sequence we call Cuddle Yoga. The details are up on Facebook and Mindbody. Sign up to reserve your spot, as we will need to ensure there are enough props to go around.
It came about innocently enough: Cliff goes to all my restorative yoga classes, so he knows the “moves” at this point. And one day we were cuddling, and he used me as a prop to do a restorative pose. “And now roll over, place you knee at hip height, and let your lower leg be supported by — (this is the part where I would normally say, ‘the bolster’) your partner!” he said, teasing me by repeating my usual yoga “script.”
What started as a joke grew from there. It didn’t take long for us to feel like we were on to something good that other people might enjoy too. It was fun to play around, be creative, spend time together and come up with a whole sequence of restorative poses modified to use each other as “props.”
Each time we do the sequence with others, we get so much great energy off seeing other couples enjoy it too. It truly does make me feel all squishy inside every year.
For 2020, we’re mixing it up a little bit and I’ve asked the masseuses at The Floating Lotus to teach the group a couple of simple massage techniques you can do during the sequence and then anytime you want at home. There will also be drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and snacks.
Come ready to relax and re-connect! I’ll see you there.
Queen’s pose is one of my all-time favorite relaxing restorative yoga poses. Sometimes I joke that it’s like being in a yoga La-Z-Boy. As soon as I lie back into the welcoming arms of my props, it’s a signal to my brain that I’m about to get some serious chill time — and if I’m lucky, a nap. When people start snoring in my restorative yoga classes, chances are it’s in queen’s pose.
And I say, go for it!
In addition to being relaxing, queen’s pose is a heart opener. With support and comfort, it allows us to gently expose our hearts to the world around us. This is both physical and metaphorical. When we feel threatened, our instinctual animal response triggers us to round forward to protect our hearts and bellies. In queen’s pose, we do the opposite. We lift our chests; we let the arms and legs go slack; we close our eyes; and we surrender with trust to the world around us.
Relaxation, open hearts, trust? — What could be better concepts for a couple to explore together!
I hope you’ll try our “cuddle” version of queen’s pose:
The Big Spoon sets up first. If possible, place one of the skinny ends of the mat against the wall. Build a supportive ramp using two blocks staggered in a stair-step position (one block on the lowest height and the other on the second-highest setting). Place your stairs near the wall-side of the mat for more support. Place a big bolster on top of the stairs to create a ramp. The highest end should touch the wall, unless you’re tall and need a little more head room.
To get into the pose, the Big Spoon backs up to the base of the ramp. With the knees bent and the soles of the feet on the mat, hands on the knees, slowly lie back onto the ramp. Leave the legs open.
The Little Spoon gets into place. Back up to the Big Spoon. With the knees bent, slowly lie back onto the Big Spoon.
Explore the details! There are as many different ways to get comfortable in this pose as there are combinations of big and little spoons (endless!) and their body types (infinite), so find what works for you. In the photo, you’ll see that Cliff opted to fold up blankets for his arms to rest on. This can make the stretch through the chest less intense and also protect you from the jarring sensation of cold floor. You’ll also notice we both chose to align our necks by placing folded up blankets under our heads. And we chose to take our legs into double versions of butterfly/bound-angle pose, with the soles of the feet together and the knees splaying out. This often feels best with a little support under the knees in the form of a rolled up blanket, small bolster or blocks. With the legs, you could also extend them, or find a way to rest the feet on the floor with the knees bent (especially great for cranky low backs).
Additions: this is the perfect position for the Big Spoon to give the Little Spoon a shoulder rub while you settle in. (Just sayin’ — Here’s looking at you, Cliff!) Plus, queen’s pose is great for listening to a guided meditation. You’re open, a little bit vulnerable and receptive to exploring ideas. Try out your favorite meditation in queen’s pose.
I would love to hear your experiences with this double queen’s pose for couples, especially how you made it work for your specific body type(s). Happy cuddling! Namaste.
Sidelying savasana from the restorative yoga tradition is one of my favorite relaxing poses. It’s probably because I like to sleep on my side, so mimicking that posture seriously signals to my body and mind that it’s chill time.
Adding in some snuggles from my partner makes it even better. This is one of my favorite cuddle yoga poses, and I think for most people it will be the one to most closely resemble how you and your partner already snuggle. So settle in, and let those cozy vibes soar!
Let’s get started:
1. The Little Spoon settles in. Little Spoon, have a big bolster handy, along with a couple of blankets or smaller bolsters and lie down on your right side. Fold up a blanket or use a small bolster to support your head like a pillow. Bend your left knee and bring it up to about hip height. Slide the big bolster under your leg and allow it to be supported as much as possible. If you’ve got another prop handy, you might hug it close to your chest or use it to support the left arm, as I’ve done in the picture. Your right leg is going to stay extended, long along the mat.
2. The Big Spoon snuggles in. Big Spoon, come behind the Little Spoon and place a folded up blanket on the Little Spoon’s right leg. Snuggle in behind the Little Spoon and lower yourself onto your right side. Use a prop as a pillow for yourself, or share the Little Spoon’s. Bring your left knee up, bent and snuggle it behind the Little Spoon’s, resting its weight on the Little Spoon’s right leg, the one with the folded up blanket on top. If it’s too much pressure on the Little Spoon, try a thicker prop. Do what feels right with your arms so that you feel nice and cozy. Hold for 6-8 minutes. Switch sides.