Difficult Yoga Poses That Take Your Practice to the Next Level

difficult yoga posesAs you become a more advanced yogi, it’s fun to begin incorporating more challenging poses into your practice. Not only will these poses be demanding, but they’ll also provide you with even greater benefits to both your body and mind. You’ll notice that your balance becomes more effective, your muscles become stronger, and your flexibility improves.

The key to mastering a difficult yoga pose is giving yourself the time to learn the correct posture and alignment while slowly building your strength to the full expression of the pose. It requires daily practice and a lot of dedication, but all of your hard work will be worth it in the end. Sometimes it takes years to master a difficult pose, and this may seem like a long time, but just remember that yoga is about the journey, not the destination. So if you’re ready for the ride, start by taking this course on Ashtanga yoga, which incorporates breath, power, and controlled movements so you can have the foundation set for mastering the following challenging poses.

Handstand Scorpion

handstand scorpionScorpion is an advanced pose, as is handstand, so when you combine these two difficult asanas, you’re in for a true challenge. In order to execute this pose correctly, your back, shoulders, and abs must be very strong. You also need to use plenty of balance and focus in order to do the pose safely.

The first thing you need to do is learn how to stay in a handstand for an extended period of at least 10 breaths. You also want to make sure your back is open and flexible, so you should be able to do a wheel pose for about 10 breaths. Once you learn how to control your back, get into handstand and slowly begin to bring the legs towards your head, bending the spine. Bend your knees and bring your feet towards your head as it remains lifted. Reverse the movement to come out of the pose safely.

If you are unsure of how to execute any of these movements properly, read this blog post on yoga instructional videos you can find online in order to see the asanas in action before attempting them yourself.

Eight-Angle

difficult yoga posesEight-angle is a very challenging pose that requires balance and flexibility, upper body and lower body strength, core stability, and the ability to get into a twist. All of this is done very close to the floor, making it even harder to execute.

Begin in a seated position with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend one leg and rest your calf on your tricep. If you are advanced, you can bring your leg onto your shoulder. Lift yourself up off the floor using your hands, with your arms straight. Then bend your extended leg and wrap your bottom leg over your other ankle so that they are bound and holding onto one another.

Focus now on bringing your chin forward by bending at the elbows like you do for chaturanga. If you want to be certain you are moving into basic movements like chaturanga properly, take this course to ensure you are executing each pose correctly for your unique body. As you balance on your hands, begin extending your legs out to the side as straight as possible and hold the pose. Then come out of it slowly by bringing yourself to the floor and unbinding the feet.

One-Legged Crow

Once you have mastered crow pose, you can take it to the next level by learning one-legged crow. There are different ways to get into this pose, but one of the easier methods requires that you begin in downward dog. Bring your left foot in towards the middle of the mat and begin bending your arms. Then bring your right knee to the flat shelf you’ve created with your bent right arm.

Next, begin to shift your weight forward and to the right, lifting your chin at the same time. This pose requires a lot of upper body strength and balance, so consider taking this course, which introduces you to advanced yoga, as it’s a good way to prepare yourself for one-legged crow. Once you have found your balance and focus, extend your left leg back and up into the air as high as you can get it before jumping back into chaturanga to exit the pose.

Peacock

peacock yogaPeacock is an extremely challenging pose for advanced yogis. You need a lot of abdominal strength to properly execute it, and it may take a long time to master it, so be prepared to practice it regularly.

Begin in a forward fold with your hands on the floor but with the fingers pointed towards the back of your mat. Jump back into a downward dog position, keeping the hands as they were. Then begin to come down into a plank, bringing the elbows into the sides of the ribs.

Lean forward by bending your elbows and bringing your chin to the floor so that you can squeeze the elbows close together on the top of the abs. Make sure you’re firming up the abs at the same time. Once this position is established, you can then lean slowly into the arms further so that you can lift both legs up off the ground behind you. Keep the shoulders broad and focus on not arching the back at all by keeping the abdominals engaged throughout the movement. Then slowly bring your feet to the floor behind you and gently come out of the pose.

While it may be tempting to jump into difficult yoga poses because you see photos or videos of yoga instructors doing them with ease online, it’s important to remember that you need to be strong enough and you need to know how to execute these poses safely to avoid injuries. If you really want to advance your practice and you have previous training in being a yoga instructor, you can take a course right at home to both improve your teaching style and master more difficult poses.