As the kids get older, certainly in early teenage-hood, these poses come with lessons on what it means to be in a partnership: Equality, support, encouragement, and interacting with the other; becoming more attuned to the other, "reading" them so to speak and witnessing the interaction on many levels -- physically, emotionally, mentally and the Grand-Daddy of them all, energetically. Witnessing energetic interactions with the other, without judgment, as we follow the geometry of our incarnation on Earth is the cornerstone of my life and work.
The kids also learn about the beauty of resistance stretching techniques this way, too. If one pulls your arms, you must pull back to strengthen your body and maintain the integrity of the shape. Imagine a real-life metal bridge with only one side anchored down. The whole thing would collapse.
Adults like partnership poses, too. Remember our weight-lifting duo a few blogs back? But sometimes we're just too inhibited, ego-bound, convenience-bound, task-oriented and thinking we know everything to admit it, let alone do much about this most of the time in our fitness regimes. When I started teaching, I taught friends (Future Face, remember The Rooms Above?) and they were more like partners in those early days than students. We exchanged support and help in equal measure.
Much of my own work is done solo now, but the value of getting another perspective and set of perceptions as you embark on challenging situations cannot be overstated. Recently, I was forced into admitting this to myself. I had decided to participate in a Guinness Book of World Records' attempt at the most people doing a handstand in NYC's Summer Streets festival. I set the alarm for 4:00 AM and when I woke up in pitch-darkness, the threat of rain nowhere in sight (damn! as that would've been the greatest excuse to not get out of bed), I said out loud: "I wish I had a friend going with me." Because I knew if I had a friend or group to meet, I would've had no choice but to get up out of that bed - the decision would've been made. Instead I equivocated and debated in the dark, wrestling with the doubts in my head: this is stupid and cheesy, there probably won't be enough people, this is a waste of time. Blah blah.
I ended up going because I could not not go, and met a partner, a stranger, who also could not not participate in such a stunt. Monica "Buff Mango" and I met on our way to the Foley Square, and became official handstand buddies for the next few hours. It was like the universe answered my wish, not with a friend, but a partner. I definitely felt better, worked harder and had so much more fun and laughs than I had had I been alone.
Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote recently about the importance of partners in achieving our fitness goals and keeping us on the path to better health. Love him or hate him, there is no question the Terminator has devoted his life to the body.
"A healthier future is every tiny step we take, or every little rep that ultimately leads us to our goal," Schwarzenegger said. "We all think we can do it alone, but no one does anything alone. As I always say, no one is self-made. We all need support - even the Terminator.
"I'm simply asking you to...inspire someone you care about to join you. It's a simple resolution and it's not as sexy as having a six-pack, but it's the key to fulfilling the unfulfilled promise of our fitness crusade and repairing this broken industry. Don't chase the next big thing. Be better. Today. If you and your training partner walked 5,000 steps yesterday, walk 5,001 today. If you did a pushup for the first time today, do two tomorrow."