Work Out with Monika: Monika brings her hubby along for a romantic workout

This Valentine’s Day, connect with a couples yoga class

Couples yoga — or more accurately, acro yoga — promises to elevate the connection between you and others through movement, connection and play. My biggest fear was that my poor husband, Storey Badger, would have to lift me. You see, I’m not a “petite” woman. And all my fears were justified.

“Acro” in Greek means “high” or “elevated.” “Yoga” in Sanskrit commonly translates to notions of “union” or “joining.” Our instructor, Amanda O’Malley, is confident that we can manage these postures. With Valentine’s Day coming up, what better way to engage in a trust- and intimacy-building exercise with your partner? 

Getting started  
Most acro poses are based on traditional yoga poses. So we start off by going over the setup and build of the poses individually before working together as a pair.

The poses
We start with a counterbalance in tree pose as part of the warm-up. Then we work on ski presses to bird presses to learn how to transfer body weight into the base (Storey) and to lift the flyer (me). We begin the lifts starting with front plank to bird pose, and then into bow pose, where I am in a back bend while grabbing my ankles. The last pose is the high flying whale where Storey has his feet on the bottom of my shoulder blades while his hands hold my feet.

What makes it different 
The dynamics of an acro class are completely different from a traditional yoga class. The class involves speaking and communicating with each other, making it louder than the average yoga class. Another key component is spotting your partner to ensure all poses are done safely. 

The best part
It was nice to connect with Storey away from our daily distractions. I think all couples tend to lose sight of each other under the daily pressures of work and child rearing. The one, uninterrupted hour of concentrating on only each other was very nice. 

Level of difficulty 
This is not a relaxing or restorative class. It is challenging on so many levels — balance, trust, flexibility and strength. 

The cool down 
In a group class, the instructors will finish off the class with group pyramids. Storey and I have a private session, so we finish the class with some light stretching and relaxation poses.

The day after 
Storey definitely took the brunt of the lifting and felt it the next day, predominantly in his legs. 

Where to try it 
Drop-in classes are on Thursday nights at the Vaughan location. O’Malley is holding workshops at the midtown and downtown locations on Feb. 11 as well. 

My only concern was for the safety and well-being of my husband and he seems to have survived. 

Studio: Yoga Tree
Address: 40 Eglinton Ave. E.
Price: $25/class

Monika Schnarre is a model, actress, entrepreneur and television personality. She has appeared in over 50 television shows and films and on over 100 magazine covers.