Looking for some yoga poses for 3 people? Doing solo or partner yoga is fun, but bringing a third person into the mix can really take your creativity and enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the three person yoga challenge!
Once you start getting three people involved, many of these positions start to blur the line between acrobatics and yoga. In fact, there’s a name for this practice: acro yoga.
Acro yoga features a lot of positions in which one or more yogis are raised in the air, balancing themselves on the hands or torso of the yogi on the ground. These are exciting, but there’s obviously some risk involved, so take care to help each other balance.
Some of these positions don’t have formal names, so we’ll do the best we can to describe them. The photos and videos should give you a good sense of how to make these yoga poses for 3 people come to life. Read on!
What is Acro Yoga? An Introduction
Acro yoga is one of the weird styles of yoga that have developed in recent years. It incorporates elements of yoga, gymnastics, and acrobatics. Normally, acro yoga would be performed by two people. You should get familiar with some of the basic acro positions for two people before jumping to three-person poses.
With acro yoga, it’s all about balance. You use your body and your limbs to work in harmony with others, pushing off their bodies to provide resistance and keep all of you in perfect balance. You’ll need to be strong and flexible to pull of this type of practice.
Acro yoga is less concerned with meditation and proper breathing, and more concerned with physical strength. That said, these sorts of poses are a great way to find harmony and peace with your fellow yogis. Working together to achieve several of these group yoga poses will definitely boost your mood and bring you closer together with your partners.
Positioning is essential. These are the basic roles to pay attention to:
Base. The base is the person who’s on the bottom and almost always is lying flat on their back. The base provides the reliable foundation for the others. This role is crucial for providing strength and peace of mind to the others.
Flyer. The flyer is the one who’s on top. In some positions, they can actually look like they’re flying. Yoga poses for three people can have one or two flyers. Balance and coordination are essential for flyers. It also helps to be lightweight and have good body control so you can distribute your weight evenly and make the base’s job easier.
Spotter. As with weight lifting, a spotter is someone who watches for proper form and keeps the others safe. A spotter doesn’t have to just watch, however. A spotter can be an active participant in the pose. Not all 3 person positions have a spotter – some may have one base and two flyers.
Obviously, some acro yoga positions can be dangerous because of the height involved, so take proper precautions. Start with the easier postures, and have a spotter to help out during that process. Steadily work your way up to the more challenging 3 person poses, but don’t rush and don’t get careless.
If you master these positions, you could even bring in another friend and try out some group poses! We have a separate guide to the best 4 person poses!
Start With Some Easy Poses
We wouldn’t necessarily recommend that yoga beginners jump right into doing acro yoga poses, or attempting a hardcore three person yoga challenge. Instead, start simple, with some positions that are much easier to achieve.
These poses don’t require complicated acrobatics, so they’re a good way to ease into things. You may want to have one person serve as the leader of sorts, to guide the session and make suggestions.
You can start with all three of you sitting together in a lotus position circle. Focus on getting into a relaxed mindset. In acro yoga, you can’t just become one with your own body; you’ll have to be in tune with the bodies of your partners as well. So this is a good time to focus on being close to your partners and connecting with them in your space.
Lord of the Dance Pose
Next, you can perform a number of standing poses together. Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana) is a good one to start with. This can be a tough pose for a solo yogi, but with a group of three, you can use each other for balance. Get used to the feeling of working in harmony with your partners to stay in position.
The trust and comfort that comes from basic poses like this can be invaluable as you advance to more ambitious positions. You could do the same with Warrior III or Standing Splits, using your partners for resistance and balance.
2-Person Whale Pose with a Spotter
Next, the easiest way to transition to 3 person yoga poses is to start with 2 person poses where the third yogi serves as a spotter to help the others achieve balance and establish good form. The photo below is a good example. Start with basic two-person poses like this before working up to the more intricate three-person poses.
The pose above is known in acro yoga as Whale Pose. The flyer feels a deep stretch throughout the spine, while the base strengthens their core and arm muscles. If you can get comfortable doing whale pose as a duo, then it’s time to move on to three-person acro poses.
3-Person Plank Pose
A good 3-person pose to start with is Plank on Plank on Plank. Just like it sounds, it’s three yogis performing planks on top of each other. A tower of plankage, you might say! To avoid making life uncomfortable for the person under you, keep your weight balanced between your hands and feet, and rest your feet upon their shoulder blades. The main benefits of this pose, obviously, are toning the arms and improving balance.
Downward Dog & L-Shape Group Pose
The next position takes the 2-person acro pose Downward Dog L-Shape and adds in a third person. Again, the title says it all. Start with the base in Downward Dog, then have the second yogi perform a half-dog, half-L, and finally the third person is fully in L-shape.
Spread your fingers and keep your palms flat on the ground, and rest your ankles on your partner’s backside for maximum support. It’s a cool-looking pose that again builds arm strength.
Intermediate Yoga Poses for Three People
Down Dog Pyramid
This pose has all three yogis performing Downward Facing Dog, but one of them is a flyer, balancing on the booty of the two bases to create a pyramid. The two bases must be close together, with their hands criss-crossing and heads almost touching as shown above.
In the photo, you can see that the flyer is performing a variation by lifting her leg in the air. In many of these poses, raising a leg is a cool way to add another layer of challenge once the basic position has been established.
Variation on Throne Pose for 3 People
This setup features two flyers, each balanced on a single foot. The base puts their foot into the meatiest part of the thigh, while the yogis on top wrap their legs around the base’s leg to maintain lateral balance. They also grab each other’s wrists, which allows them to gently push and pull each other stay in place.
This one might require quite a bit of trial and error to achieve. It can actually be quite difficult, but we’re calling it “intermediate” because it’s one of the safer three-person poses. There isn’t a high level of danger involved since nobody is more than a few feet off the ground.
Foot to Hand and Throne Pose Combo
This one takes a couple simple 2-person acro yoga poses and combines them. The foot to hand pose is pretty basic, though it requires good balance and arm strength, as the base must grip and hold the heels of the flyer. Meanwhile, the third person takes a seat on the raised feet of the base.
This pose is unique because the two flyers aren’t touching each other. So they’re independently holding their own balance, in tandem with the base. It’s another pose that creates a cool visual.
Challenging 3 Person Yoga Poses
Disclaimer: Since these positions often involve raising your partners several feet off the ground, attempt them at your own risk! Experienced yogis who remain mindful of their partners and who can maintain control and balance are best-suited to take on these challenging yoga poses for 3 people.
Double Plank Press
A typical Plank Press is an acro yoga maneuver in which the flyer balances on the feet of the base, with their arms out in a T shape. This three person yoga pose adds in a second flyer, who is held up with both hands of the base on their waist. This position requires great arm strength on the part of the base.
Notice also how the lower flyer has her legs straddling the base’s legs. That subtle positioning technique gives her the ability the maintain lateral balance in case she feels herself leaning too far to one side or the other.
Double Front Plank
This one is quite difficult if you look closely. In this pose, the base is using one hand and one foot to support each partner. What’s interesting is that his feet are on the outside edge of the women’s hips. That means there’s no support in the middle to hold them up.
So how are they staying up? Well, they’re giving a strong press down into the hands of the base, who in turn is pushing back up with robust force. Secondly, they have their arms tightly around each other, compressing their bodies so they are essentially one combined platform rather than two separate bodies.
Three-Person Flying Plank Press
Here’s another variation on the Plank Press. Instead of having the flyer balance directly on the base’s feet, this pose adds in a second body to lean against the base’s feet. That person can then hold the flyer aloft, giving them much greater height off the ground than they’d be able to achieve with only two people. One of the coolest 3 person yoga poses, for sure!
Flying Downward Facing Dog
Who’s up for a Flying Down Dog? If you’re bored with the traditional Down Dog position, just think how much of a rush it will be to do it seven feet in the air! This three-person pose is best achieved by having the bases start from a crouched position, slowly raising the flyer in the air. Now you’re really doing some true acro yoga!
Front Plank With Vertical Flyer
Only two more left on our list of the best 3 person yoga poses! This one takes the basic Front Plank and simply adds a third person standing vertically on top. We say “simply,” but let’s be real… this one isn’t simple to achieve. It will require a powerful push from the base’s hands and feet to elevate the flyers, and then the vertical flyer needs to work her way up from a crouch to a full stand.
Whew, this one even makes us nervous! This is where all that trust and connection you’ve built up from the easier poses will come in handy. The Flying Handstand is a challenging pose for three people in which one is lifted into a fully upside-down handstand position three feet off the ground.
Notice the triangle formed by the yogis’ arms to provide maximum support. The left base puts his hands on the flyer’s shoulder blades, offering support so that she doesn’t topple over. The flyer pushes down against the right base to help keep herself aloft. It looks tough, and it is, but those who’ve mastered the handstand might be able to pull it off.
Video: Steps to Achieve Three Person Yoga Challenge Poses
It can be tough to figure out how to get into these positions just from looking at photographs. So here’s a good video from the Rybka Twins with some good footage showing how to achieve many of these 3 person yoga poses.
Always start with the simplest move first, then have the flyer join the pose last. Soon you’ll be winning the three person yoga challenge!
The bottom line when it comes to yoga for three people or more is to have fun! It’s an awesome feeling to see a difficult pose that looks impossible, and then find a way to make it happen. Good luck and stay safe!