08/31/2012 12:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Yoga: The Ultimate Couple's Therapy

2012-08-30-yogamalcolm.jpgMister GoLightly and Equinox Yoga Instructor, Jessa Messina

A few weeks ago I decided to take my very first Yoga class. It was totally awesome. As soon as I got home I couldn't wait to tell my better half of ten years about my divine experience. I swear, you would have thought I was speaking an alien language to a person who had just landed their spaceship on the planet of New York City. At one point, I was for sure he was going to get up and pat me on the head and say those words I dread hearing, "I'm glad you enjoyed it." Which in couples talk translates to "I'm busy, now leave me alone." But I was not deterred, as somehow over the course of our lopsided conversation, I had become secretly obsessed with getting him off of the couch and onto a yoga mat.

A few days later, with luck firmly on my side, I received two complimentary Yoga mats from a twitter friend whom, unlike someone else I know, was very impressed by my enthusiasm and commitment to moving forward with my new found passion. This twitter friend also suggested in the kind note attached to the mats that Yoga was a great way to connect with a spouse, partner or very dear friend. Now, not only did I have my basic Yoga instructions under my belt, I had also received a sign from the universe pointing me in the right direction.

But I knew this would not be enough to get Mr. Feet Pointed Straight to the Sky While Backside Planted Firmly on the Couch to take the leap and join me as I advanced beyond down dog and on to the next level of my instructions. And once again, as if I had reached my hands out and up to the Great Eastern Sun, I was introduced to the teachings of the ultimate yoga power couple -- Briohny Smyth and Dice Iida-Klein.

Now I must admit I had already seen the work of Briohny Smyth via her viral video The Contortionist which has garnered the young yoga guru over 4 million viewers and virtual stalkers. There would even be times when I would enter EQUINOX where Briohny and Dice are both yoga instructors and see her video playing and think to myself, "You got to have some sort of discipline and strength to get your body to do that crazy shyte." However, what I've learned after watching the couples latest video, Acro Yoga, not only do you need discipline, you also need a great deal of balance, trust, patience and most of all, communication.


According to Smyth, when she first started learning (Acro Yoga), her biggest takeaway was that couple's yoga is really about the base -- the person on the bottom -- and if you're a strong base, anybody can fly with you. She goes on to say, "The key is communication with the base -- and trust. " Briohny also says she could do all of her yoga poses on her own, as she has never been very good at trusting people -- which is something she believes most women gain over time -- especially when it comes to men. Therefore, it was a real challenge for both she and Mr. Klein to go from singular practices, where each had full control, to releasing control to one another.

Smyth says, "Releasing control was a big thing for me because I was a single mom, and I had built my own businesses, so it had always been about having two hands on the wheel. When you are on top in Acro Yoga, it's all about letting go and trusting 100 percent, because if you fight back or resist, it's much harder for the base." Much like my husband and I on a daily basis, Briohny says she and Dice went through a lot of little tiffs of, "You're doing it wrong -- No, you're doing it wrong!" with every single time it came down to her simply letting go.

Like a great number of men (straight or gay), it turns out Dice had a tough time expressing himself and therefore had to work extra hard to master his duty as a base. As a base it turns out he is forced to be extremely communicative in order to tell Briohny what he needs and what he needs from her.


As Dice is quick to point out, "Bri is a little more of a control freak than I am, but when it comes to being flown in yoga, she has to give up control, and I have to take over, and for me it's very gratifying to be the foundation." He goes on to say, "It's kind of like I'm the rock, and I think that's how I feel with this family (Briohny and her daughter), away from Acro yoga. I'm learning my place as being the man of the household, and I'm learning for me, it's not about directing anybody. It's more or less, the stronger I am, the stronger they'll be. Just by standing tall, I think everything else just falls into place."

Either way, I am sure that even if the teachings of Acro Yoga aren't genuinely appealing to my soul-mate, the idea of me dangling helplessly and him being in total control might be motivation enough to get him onto the yoga mat -- or at least off of the couch.


All photos courtesy of @Equinox