The 5 Most Difficult Yoga Poses

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So, you’ve mastered the art of balancing and you can twist your legs in all sorts of ways. Now it’s time to put the two talents together to form some of the most difficult poses that yogis dare to try. But if you’re new to handstands, headstands and Gumby-like back bends, don’t pretend that you’re in Cirque du Soleil and attempt these poses on your own. Find an experienced yoga instructor who can guide you through the motions safely.

5 Crane Pose

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The crane is a basic advanced pose that’s useful if you’re practicing arm-balance exercises. Instead of bringing your legs in front of you, like in the firefly pose, you tuck your knees into the back of your armpits. To get into this position, tuck yourself into a ball-like position, as if you were going to do a somersault. Put your hands on the ground, bend your elbows and rest the back of your upper arms on your shins. Shift your weight onto the balls of your feet and lean forward to transfer the weight to your hands. As you do this move, tuck your knees into the back of your arms. After finding your balance, straighten your arms and look forward with your head.

4 Firefly Pose

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Despite its name, you don’t really look like a firefly when you do this pose. You look like a ninja. Start in a squatting position and place your feet on the floor so they’re less than hip-width apart. Tilt your body forward a bit so your weight is on your hands, like you’re going to play leap frog. While in this frog-like position, shift your center of gravity and weight more on to your hands while keeping your knees as close to your shoulders as possible. Stretch out your legs in front of your body so they’re parallel to the ground, and then straighten your arms.

3 Lotus Headstand Variation with Bound Legs

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Headstands are like handstands, but you balance yourself on your forearms and head instead of just your hands. As you get into a headstand position, keep your elbows firmly in place so you don’t end up doing a scorpion face plant. To do the bound-leg variation, touch the soles of your feet together while in the headstand. Then bend at the knees so your legs for a diamond shape. When you get really good at this inversion, put your hands together as if you’re praying.

2 Eight-Angle Pose

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When you do this move, you kind of look like you’re doing a pushup. Instead of having your legs and feet behind you, they’re off to your side and in the air. At the same time, one arm is between your legs, so you look like a human knot. To do this pose, do a forward bend so your hands are on either side of your feet; keep your knees slightly bent. Move your right arm so it’s between your legs. As you do this, bend your knees and elbows, and slowly move your right leg so it’s over the back of your upper right arm. At this point, your right toes still touch the ground. Slowly move your left leg to the right side of your body, cross your ankles and lift yourself off the floor.

1 Forearm-Stand Scorpion Pose

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Talk about an extreme back bend: To get into a forearm-stand scorpion pose, get into a simple headstand. To do a headstand, place your forearms into a triangle shape on the floor, with your hands clasped. Place the crown of your head between your arms so your clasped hands touch the back of your head. Lift your knees off the floor and slowly raise them so your body is parallel to the wall. Unclasp your hands, look up with your head and spread your fingers out on your yoga mat to help you keep your balance. Now you’re doing a forearm-stand. After finding your balance, bring your legs together and slowly bend your knees. If your back is flexible, your feet will be near your head.

  • Show Comments (5)

  • Niels Cosman

    This list is rediculous

  • Linux Novice

    Doing such postures itself is ridiculous. Patanjala Yoga Sutra, the basic treatise of Yoga mentions only one posture (cross legged sitting one) showing the importance or lack of there of of physical postures.

  • Niels Cosman

    Well, I think thats going a bit to the extreme, but the idea of a list of the “the most difficult poses” is silly. By what metrics? After two years of dedicated practice a standing forward fold is still the most “difficult” pose for me but I can arm balance, crane pose etc etc till the cows come home. When I started, every pose was “the most difficult pose”. I used to think that the day I could nail utthita hasta padagusthasana, I would be “a really good yogi”. That day happened about two and it was not a big deal. There was no parade. I didnt twitter the masses. There will always be new challenges and deeper layers of understanding and appreciation of a yoga practice (not limited to asana). The most difficult pose is the one that you are in.

  • Linux Novice

    You become a real Yogi when you can calm your mind at will for any duration. This can be achieved even without mastering any posture. All you need is to let go of your body and postures helps i admit but not necessary.

  • Clare Hudson

    Wow to the headstand variation. Ive never seen a photo of this before so thanks.

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