Often criticized “because it looks like acrobatics,” the most difficult (or impressive) yoga postures reflect our own limitations.
Lack of flexibility, joint pain, loss of strength and tone.
Personally, I cannot do any of the very difficult yoga postures listed below but I would like to invite you to take a new look at them.
What if instead of envy and incomprehension, we became a little more curious?
How to access these postures (in reality or in a dream)?
What are their benefits?
What muscles do they work?
Do not try to reproduce these yoga postures alone at home, without support, you risk injuring yourself .
Likewise, if it's very hot , remember to adapt your yogic practice!
I'll take you with me to discover 17 of the most difficult yoga postures, with all my curiosity!
In this first part, discover 9 of them, the rest in December 2023!
1. Headstand pose or sirsasana
This is the first inversion balance posture that apprentice yogis try to master.
It offers a new perspective on the practice and allows you to prepare for other, more difficult balance postures!
Step by step: Join the fingers of both hands and form a triangular base on the ground with your two hands linked and elbows on each side, which will be your base. Lean forward and place the top of your head on the floor, the back of your head against your hands. Move your feet towards your head with your leg straight, your back straightens little by little. Slowly lift your feet off the floor, bend your knees toward your chest. Slowly straighten your hips until your bent knees are pointed toward the ceiling. Slowly straighten your knees, feet rise upwards.
How to prepare: Dolphin pose is a great way to prepare for headstand pose.
Benefits: head rest improves concentration and memory.
2. The 8-cornered posture or Ashtavakrasana
The 8-corner pose might be easier than it seems!
Don't be afraid to give it a go: if you can hold a low plank for about thirty seconds, you probably have enough strength to perform ashtavakrasana.
Start exploring your inner strength without delay!
Step by step: Start with your legs stretched out in front of you.
Bend your right knee and pass your right arm underneath.
Hook your right knee firmly over your right shoulder.
The palms are firmly anchored to the ground, on either side of the hips.
Raise your left leg and lightly cross your left ankle over your right ankle.
Bend your elbows 90° and tilt your upper body forward, chest and gaze raised.
How to prepare: you should always take the time to warm up before tackling the eight-cornered pose. For this, there’s nothing like a few rounds of sun salutations.
Yoga poses that can help prepare for Eight Angles Pose are side plank, turtle, ladder pose, and baby cradle.
Benefits: in addition to strengthening the wrists, arms and heart, this posture is an excellent self-confidence booster. It helps develop concentration and improves digestion.
3. Firefly pose or Tittibhasana
This yoga posture undoubtedly belongs to the category of advanced postures.
As we can see, it mainly targets the wrists, on which the entire weight of the body rests.
The posture strongly requires the abdominal muscles as well as those of the thighs.
To practice once well warmed up!
Step by step: While standing, spread your legs hip-width apart, with your feet pointing slightly outward.
In a forward bending movement, lean your torso forward and anchor your palms to the ground.
Shift your body weight back by pressing the backs of your thighs against your triceps.
Straighten your arms, engage your abdominal muscles and find balance by lifting your feet off.
Straighten your legs in front of you.
How to prepare: remember to warm up well before moving on to the firefly pose. You can keep it warm for the middle of your session. Wrist balance postures like the crow and all those that strengthen the abdominal muscles like the plank and its variations, the head pose or the warrior III offer an excellent basis for tittibhasana.
Benefits: firefly posture strengthens the abdominal muscles, arm and shoulder muscles. It promotes concentration and allows the yogi to feel their inner strength.
4. The Scorpion or Vrischikasana
Impressive in the strength it requires, the scorpion is far from easy to perform, even for the most experienced.
It is an advanced balancing posture in which the body takes the shape of a scorpion's tail ready to sting.
Step by step :
Get into dolphin pose.
Raise your left leg as high as possible, well aligned with the body.
Slowly bring the leg back then raise the other leg.
The weight of the body now rests solely on the forearms and elbows.
Reverse your back and bring your feet as close to your head as possible by bending your knees.
The gaze rests on an imaginary point on the ground.
How to prepare for it: Many preparatory postures are there to help you access the effort and demands of the scorpion posture: the handstand posture, the peacock posture or the wheel posture.
Benefits : Scorpio pose improves mind-body coordination, strengthens arms, legs and hips while improving blood circulation. From a mental point of view, it boosts self-confidence and helps combat stress.
5. The wheel or urdhva-dhanurasana
The wheel posture and its many variations is a posture for opening the heart in back flexion.
This yoga posture which activates all the chakras is not recommended for beginners but remains accessible, provided you prepare yourself little by little.
Step by step: While lying on your back, bend your knees, bringing your feet as close to your glutes as possible. Place your hands on either side of your face, pointing your fingers toward your feet. Push the whole body back using the arms and legs to bring the pelvis towards the sky.
How to prepare for it: we train with all the more accessible yoga postures that work on back flexion: cobra, upward facing dog, dolphin, sphinx, etc. Also remember to practice the half-bridge, a simplified version of the wheel, ideal for getting started!
Benefits: the wheel posture relaxes the spine and strengthens the arms and legs. It improves breathing and reduces stress.
6. The flying crow or eka pada galavasan
The flying crow is halfway between the posture of the crow and the pigeon.
A beautiful balance on the wrists that gives the impression of flying!
Step by step: Start standing in chair pose. Shift your weight to your left foot. Lift your right foot off the ground. Keeping both knees bent, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Begin to enter a forward bend on your right shin. Bend your left leg enough so that you can place your palms flat on the floor. Hook the toes of your right foot around your upper left arm. Bend both elbows to support your right shin. Lean your torso forward, resting your right shin on your arms. Lift your left foot off the ground and straighten your leg.
How to prepare for it: work on yoga postures that require the strength of the wrists: upward facing dog, downward facing dog, plank, etc. A prerequisite is of course knowing how to do the crow posture and that of the pigeon to properly prepare hip opening and arm strength!
Benefits: the flying crow pose provides general strengthening of the body, with emphasis on the arms and abdominal muscles. As it is difficult to execute, this posture brings humility and confidence to those who know how to persevere. Once successful, a feeling of strength will be your reward.
How to prepare for it: by working on all the hip opening postures such as the butterfly, the happy child, the garland, the lizard, etc... but also the variations of the pigeon posture (pigeon lying on its back, pigeon on the stomach, etc.)
Benefits: The king pigeon offers an unparalleled all-round stretch and works the hips, spine and legs. Practiced regularly, this posture helps improve blood circulation, strengthen the digestive system and stimulate the abdominal organs.
7. Forearm balance or Pincha Mayurasana
Pincha Mayurasana is an impressive balance yoga pose that features forearm support.
With practice and patience, it is accessible and provides another way of finding balance!
Step by step: Start in plank pose with legs and arms straight. Lower your elbows and place your forearms on the floor. Position your hands to form the tip of a triangle with your elbows. Lift your hips and bend your knees to gently walk your feet toward your hands. Lift one leg up, then the other leg. Raise both legs in arrows. Option: lower them gently onto the head.
How to prepare: Plank and candle poses are great ways to prepare for Pincha Mayurasana.
Benefits: Pincha Mayurasana strengthens the arms and shoulders while improving your balance and loosening the hamstring muscles.
8. The King Dancer or Asana Natarajâsana
It's the pretty posture with a classical dance feel, which highlights the grace and light of the body!
Step by step: From mountain pose, shift your body weight onto one leg. Stretch the other leg back, the hand on the same side grabs the ankle from the outside. The bust is straight, the hips aligned and the gaze is straight ahead.
How to prepare: practice standing balance postures like eagle or standing pincer to properly practice grounding on one foot. And for opening the hips: all the postures that make them more flexible. You may not be able to lift your leg all the way up the first time. Don't give up: use a strap to gradually achieve the complete posture of the dancer king.
Benefits: Natarajâsana is a posture that works on anchoring, flexibility, fluidity and balance. Also called the cosmic dancer posture, it is a posture that teaches letting go!
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