Yoga has become one of the most sought after spiritual exercise for mind and body in recent times. There are many Yoga classes being held across cities to teach the ancient Hindu art of Yoga. It might look easy but mastering Yoga requires years of dedication. Here are a few yoga poses that need practice and devotion:
1. Double Buddhasana
This one is for the hip joints and one of the toughest yoga poses. This was named after the professional contortionist Kino Mcgregor and it is so tough that she can’t get into it (or out of it) by herself.
2. Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
This is a posture that requires balance and flexibility rather than strength. It is a spine strengthening posture that also opens up the quads and shoulders. To find your way into this posture start out on your back and bring your feet up close to your hips.
Then tilt your elbows to the sky with your palms pressed into the ground and push up with your feet as well. The pressure will cause your abdomen and chest to push into the air. Keep pushing until all four of your limbs are fully extended to create a bridge with your body. Once there count ten deep breathes before slowly letting yourself back down. No doubt, one of the toughest yoga poses.
3. Destroyer of the Universe (Kala Bhairavasana)
This pose is dedicated to Shiva, the Indian God of destruction. Anyone who can twist themselves into this position has earned themselves the title ‘Destroyer of the Universe.’ One of the toughest yoga poses, it’s very similar to a posture referred to as the master posture in Bikram yoga known as triangle pose with one change: you use one standing leg and push the heel on the side that you’re leaning on behind your head. Even looking at it seems painful.
4. One-Handed Tree Pose (Eka Hasta Vrksasana)
Tree pose is a humbling pose dedicated to the death of the ego. It has many variations but the toughest of the lot has to be Eka Hasta Vrksasana. While most other tree poses are done standing on at least one leg, this one has your body stretched up into the air with only one arm for support.
This is upper body strength at work. And a whole lot of balance. This pose may come naturally to anyone who is skilled at doing hand-stands but a one-handed handstand is taking it all the way.
What’s the next toughest yoga poses? No hands?
5. Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)
One night I went home with a yoga instructor from one of my classes and when I woke up in the morning she was twisted into Yoganidrasana and snoring. She woke up and found me staring and explained to me that this is how she sleeps on a regular basis.
6. Wounded Peacock (Pungu Mayurasana)
Yogis have a thing for balancing on one arm. Balancing on your feet is simple enough so why not push yourself to your limits and balance on one arm. And while you are up there, contract and stretch your muscles so that you can do it in a new position. That is what Wounded Peacock is all about.
Pungu Mayurasana requires a lot of core strength and wrist strength so it more than just contortion. You could be the most flexible being on the planet but you also need the strength to support yourself.
People who have mastered this posture say that the most important part of this posture is breathing. Once you get your breath right, the pose becomes easy. Sure! one of the toughest yoga poses.
7. Formidable Face Pose (Gandha Bherundasana)
Yet another pose that toes the line between contortionism and yoga. This is a complex mix of compression and extension. The entire spine gets a work-out and your chest stretches out. It is known to stimulate the nerve centers across the entire body.
To enter this pose start off lying down on your belly with the top of your hands under your body and your palms facing up and with your thumbs touching underneath you. Curl your toes and walk them in close to your hands which raises your hips to the ceiling. Once your knees are above your hands kick your legs up into the air one at a time using your arms and chin to balance. Slowly bend your knees and your back towards the top of your head.
It sounds easy but you might want to have a few years of experience before you try it. Oh, and remember to smile.
8. Head-Stand Iron Cross (Mukta Hasta Sirsasana)
You can do this one. It may seem difficult but with the right guidance, you can find yourself in this pose.
Start with your hand on knees on the mat. Bring the top of your head down to the floor just in front of your hands then walk your hands to the sides of your head. With your head and hands planted firmly into the ground, shift your hips up over your head using your core strength to keep both of your feet straight up in the air.
If you’ve made it this far then you’re in a Tripod Headstand. That’s simple enough to do but this is where it gets tricky. Walk your hands inch by inch away from your head until they are straight out to your sides with your head in the middle.
See, it isn’t that hard. Just try not to hurt your neck while you do it.
9. Eight Crooked Limbs (Astavakrasana)
This is one of the poses that just makes you feel powerful. It was named after an ancient sage with crooked limbs.
The sage, named Astavakra, corrected his father’s telling of verse eight times. His father got angry and cursed the boy to have a deformation in his legs which caused them to bend in eight awkward angles, one for each time that he corrected his father. Astavakra may have been crippled but he was wiser than he seemed.
Just like Astavakra, Astavakrasana is deceptive because it looks difficult. Wizened yogis know that this pose is more about technique than strength. The mind/body connection that yogis seeking to master this pose are that things sometimes seem more difficult than they really are.
10. Dead Man Pose (Shavasana)
This is the hardest pose of them all. What makes it so difficult is that you have to lie there, and do absolutely nothing. Don’t scratch, don’t cough and don’t twitch. Just lie there and be still.
Think about it…when was the last time that you did nothing at all for over a minute? In this world of smart-phones and a demand for constant mental stimulation, most people can’t handle a full minute of just lying there and being. But if you can master this pose, you have the best position for relaxation.