Five Tips for the Yoga Date: How Not to Freak Out Your Partner in Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Here’s the scenario:  You’re a few months into seeing a new lady/man friend.

You’ve had at least one minor fight and survived, you know that she wants two kids and a dog, and he’s even invited you to hang with the boys on a Saturday night.

It’s Saturday morning, you’re leaving her apartment, Manduka strapped securely across your chest, pumped for a ninety-minute chi shakeout sesh with Mika. Just before the door slams behind you, you hear those three little words that you’ve been dreading.

“Can I come?”

Don’t worry, I get it. Your practice is yours. You’re free to grunt and breathe and fart without judgment and you like it that way. Yoga is about shutting everything else off, eliminating your boundaries, and just flowing. And hey, let’s be honest, sometimes you like to check out the babe up front working that Lululemon ensemble in Trikonasana (Triangle Pose).

Don’t panic, young grasshopper, because, along with the first kiss and the first fight, this is another milestone in the relationship of the yogi. But if you truly value your relationship, say “Sure babe, grab your mat,” and then read these tips:

1.  Your partner doesn’t care that you’ve got 10,000 yoga hours under your belt.  She cares that she put on clingy yoga pants, is matching her sports bra to her mat, and that after all this is over, you two will grab anti-oxidizing juices and bask in your cumulative yoga glows with some QT in the shower, ifyouknowwhatimean.

Indulge her and then if the scenario repeats itself next Saturday, tell her you’re going to watch college football with your brothers. What’s worse? Her finding out you’re cheating on her with yoga or finding out one day that she’s used up the last of your 20-class pass?

2.  Don’t judge his Chaturanga. Because three short years ago, you were gasping too after vinyasa number 90 in your first Ashtanga class. Boyfriend might be out to prove something here, and while his shoulders are dipping forward and he’s probably one low plank away from a torn rotator cuff, he really just wants to be the alpha yogi here. After class, stroke his ego and tell him how strong his biceps look, while desperately hoping he already has after work plans for Tuesday’s Core Power.

3.  Resist the urge to adjust her. Yep, girlfriend’s hips are way too open in standing split, she’s hunching in Trikonasana, and you’re not sure what variation of pigeon she’s doing, but it’s definitely not any of the ones you learned in Baron’s workshop last week.  Breathe in and remind yourself that her wonky attempt at Downward Dog is the teacher’s problem now. And if Mika asks after class, you’ve never seen that chick before in your life.

4.  Ignore the Blackberry at the top of the mat. One of the things you love about him is that he works hard and still manages to carve out time to be with you. You’re starting to love it less, though, when his Droid is buzzing between each exhale. Just know that every email means that he’s still employed and that, after class, he’s buying brunch with all that dough he makes while salting your flow.

5.  Smile. Because there’s only 10 minutes left until Savasana and you never, ever, ever have to do this again.

Have any of you practiced with a partner that’s not a yogi like yourself?  Did you ever have to get over that first yoga date fear?