Advanced Yoga Postures and Asanas
If you have moved past the beginner’s stage of yoga, and are confident in your ability to hold poses with strength and with flexibility, you should try and challenge yourself with more advanced postures.
Of course, it's always nerve-wracking moving towards the next stage of your practice. Yoga is something that requires your full attention and physical capabilities, after all. If you know you're ready to learn some new asanas, you have come to the right place!
This post will introduce you to some of the most popular and challenging poses for advanced yogis! We will get into the specifics of these poses, how they can be performed, and the possible benefits of each pose.
Advanced Yoga Postures and Asanas You Should Try:
The following yoga postures should be
attempted with patience. Advanced yoga
postures are beneficial and may further condition your body, spirit,
and mind. Like with any stage of increased fitness, it's important to listen to your body, there is a difference between pushing your body, and causing your body unneeded harm. If you're thinking about advancing your practice, we always recommend starting with a more advanced session with a yoga instructor.
These postures, take a higher level of concentration, and balance, based on your current fitness level. No matter what level you are, make sure to focus on your goals, your mind, and breathing during these techniques. Cautions aside, you'll have a great time learning each of these yoga poses!
1. King Pigeon Pose
The first advanced yoga posture we'll talk about is the king pigeon pose. This pose is for the intermediate to advanced yogi and is a back-bend type stretch. King pigeon yoga pose may help bring energy to your body and spirit.
This one pose benefits regions of your body such as the back, ankles, hamstrings, chest, hips, pelvis and quads.
To get into the king pigeon pose, you'll want to go into a kneeling pose first. The length between your knees should be
slightly narrower than your hips. Make sure your back is straight as well, then bring your left leg up and tuck it so your foot is resting behind your right wrist. Your right leg should be straight back on your mat behind you. Lower your left shin and thigh at this time onto your yoga mat.
The next step is to locate that right foot with your right hand, so you'll need to bend the right leg upward to meet your hand. Once complete arch your back and begin to turn your chest outward, arching your neck back as well and looking upward.
Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the other side.
2. Lotus Pose
Easy to see where it gets it's name, the lotus pose is one of the most well-known asanas in the world. This iconic pose looks easy, but it is actually much harder to get into than most people think, and definitely ranks in the intermediate to advanced level.
Lotus pose is used in meditation practice as well, but it is extremely useful for increasing hip and leg flexibility for your yoga practice. It is a type of restorative pose as well, because it can be held for a considerable amount of time. This asana benefits and works the hips, and ankles the most.
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Lotus is a seated pose, so start by sitting down on your mat. Once your butt is firmly seated on the ground, try and get into a good position. Make sure your back is straight and your hips are stretched out well, as this position requires fairly open hips. Then, take your left leg and bend it inward so your heel is facing your abdomen.
After this, take hold of your left ankle
and bring your foot in toward your groin area. Bend your other leg and do the same
thing. Essentially both legs should be sitting on the opposite thigh.
Try to maintain both knees touching your mat, and keep your back straight! Your arms should be out to your side, focus on inhaling and exhaling, increasing the duration held with each session.
3. Handstand Scorpion
Handstand scorpion is one of the more
difficult advanced asanas we'll go over. So be careful as you attempt this
yoga posture. Also, consider doing some preparatory poses to help build-up
strength and flexibility before you do this asana as with many of the more advanced positions!
Being able to do an actual
handstand can aid you in this pose, so think about learning to do a handstand
first. The video above is a great tutorial in how to transition into this pose, certainly better then it can be explained! The handstand scorpion helps with stretch, strength and balance, and is a back-bend type pose.
Like the King Pigeon Pose several muscle groups can benefit from this maneuver, like the back, arms, shoulders, core, neck and even the wrists.
Handstand scorpion involves a lot of
upper body strength, but with some practice, you can successfully get into this
pose. To start, you'll want to get into a dolphin pose. This is similar to a
downward dog, but you keep your forearms on the ground. You can use yoga blocks like in the video above as well, and use the wall for support.
Press into your forearms and kick up to get into a vertical position. You'll essentially be doing a handstand on your forearms. After this, continue on to bend your legs, so the bottom of your feet touch your head, if possible.
4. Iron Cross Headstand
This next advanced asana is a headstand.
The Iron cross headstand can be even harder to master than the scorpion handstand in some cases.
You'll need a lot of strength and balance for this pose. Again, we recommend
practicing handstands and other strength-building poses to prepare your body.
You can even start by doing handstands on your wall if you're new to this type of asana. It’s important to know that the iron cross is a fully inverted pose, and focuses on strength and balance. It's a position that can be beneficial to your lower back, gluteus, core, neck and arms for stabilization.
To get into this headstand, you need to
get on your hands and knees first, bend your elbows, then place your head on the ground (see video above).
From here you can place your arms out to the side like a cross. Next, slowly kick up your feet, so that you're in a vertical position. Remember to breathe and use your core strength to help balance.
Your head and palms should be the only part of you, touching the mat.
5. Chakra Bond Pose
Chakra bond pose is the last advanced pose we'll discuss, however there are limitless postures you can further explore. This pose helps stabilize and bring balance to the entire body. It does this by aligning your chakras and bringing inner clarity.
Getting into this pose for some, may be slightly easier than other advanced asanas mentioned above.
To get into the chakra bond pose, begin on your back (or standing straight if you're able). Then place you hands above your head, palms down, and from there press straight-up bringing your back off the mat. Begin arching your back, keeping your knees bent and pointed outward.
Begin trying to walk your hands towards your ankles, and get a good grip on them. Then hold the pose. By straightening your knees you can stretch your back even further.
These advanced postures are not for everyone, as they require a lot of strength, balance, focus and flexibility. They require a lot of ability that can only be attained from practicing yoga for quite some time, so be mindful and smart of where you're in the process.
It's helpful to work with someone. If you practice some sort of couples yoga, even better, to aide in some of the asanas.