The 5 Most Challenging Yoga Poses
The point of yoga is not to tie yourself into the most complicated knots but to be honest, everyone loves to see advanced yoga practitioners executing those wonderful, difficult poses. Although, they all require strength, flexibility and most importantly, experience so never try them alone, only in the presence of a yoga instructor. Until then, let’s see the most challenging yoga poses which are always a pleasure to watch.
1. Handstand scorpion
Handstand scorpion – or Taraksvasana in Sanscrit – is almost the most difficult yoga pose. It requires you to have perfect balance, good flexibility and plenty of strength. When you are about to try is for the first time, do it near a wall that gives you safety in any case. The key is slowness – arch your back and touch the wall with your toes first, then move them forward towards your head. Take 5-6 deep breaths and slowly move your legs up to handstand, then back to the ground.
2. Tripod Headstand with Lotus Legs
The tripod headstand – Sirsasana li Padmasana – is possibly even more difficult than the handstand scorpion. Since its base is a headstand, this practice should only be attempted by advanced yoga practitioners. First, you slowly need to sit in a lotus position. Then, do a headstand by first placing your hand on the floor to keep your balance with your legs straight up in the air. Finally, move your right foot on top of your left thigh, then the left foot on your right thigh and snuggle your legs to fit closer into the position. Keep this for about 8 breaths and relax.
3. Formidable face pose
The formidable face position – Gandha Bherundasana – requires extreme flexibility, some strength and balance and is only recommended for advanced yoga practitioners. Start it from a tabletop position or being on your hands and knees, and then slowly lift up your left leg while lowering your chin towards the ground. Hands are flat on the floor as back as possible, and the right leg should be lifted up while keeping the chest on the floor. The main body weight is now on the shoulders but the aim is to have the feet flat on the ground with a full arched back for about 3-6 breaths.
4. Destroyer of the Universe
This pose – Bhairavasana – not only requires flexibility in the hips, balance and strength, but extremely strong mental focus also. Starting from a one-arm plank with both feet on the ground, the lower leg should be placed behind your head. From this position, lift up your free arm towards the ceiling and turn your head upwards too. Beginners often start it with placing their leg behind the head first and then roll over into a side plank pose. This posture mainly develops the arms and abdominal while increasing flexibility of the hips and hamstrings.
5. One-handed tree pose
One-handed tree pose – Eka Hasta Vrksasanav – is often a challenge even for the most experienced yoga practitioners. Great balance and strength are key along with controlling them while inverted. It is based on handstand which is followed with spreading the legs and then slowly lifting one of the hands off the mat. Legs are responsible for the balance while wrist and elbow get stronger in stability control, along with developing arm and abdominal muscles. In case the mind is clear, breathing will also be relaxed.
Just like all other physical activities, yoga requires time and patience. These difficult postures cannot be executed from one day to another, they need years of experience, knowledge, and both physical and mental readiness.