Hard yoga poses are focused on improving the strength, flexibility, and balance of your body, in addition to improving muscle growth. Intense training at your gym need not be the only option to boost your body and mind.
Practicing hard yoga poses regularly can give equally well, if not more benefits than you can imagine.
Although the term hard yoga poses can be a bit daunting, particularly if you are just beginning your yoga practice, it need not be so.
With regular practice and the right preparation, you can easily master the poses in a safe way without harming your body.
Here are 7 hard yoga poses to get you started. I have also given video info on how to do the poses and the benefits of each pose.
Eight Limb Pose (Ashtangasana)
The eight limb pose is named so as eight parts of your body will touch the floor or mat during this pose. That is your chin, chest, hands, feet, and knees will touch the mat.
Make sure the tailbone is pointed upwards and your lumbar spine is curved. To activate the shoulder muscles push downwards on your hands.
This will reduce the weight and pressure on your chest. This is a pose where shoulders are pulled towards your spine.
Forward force is applied by your toes as they are forced to be away from your body for creating the forward energy on the back of your legs.
This toe pressure helps balance the downward hand force ensuring you gain proper strength in your upper body and arms.
Benefits of Eight limb pose
The pose helps in strengthening various parts of the body including the knees, chest, abdomen, core, biceps, and triceps.
The pose requires proper balance which when you attain will apply pressure on the muscles surrounding the spin improving the flexibility of your back.
When done for longer duration it tones your limbs and makes you ready for more challenging hard yoga poses.
Plow Flip Yoga Pose (Halasana)
Named after the simple plow of horse-drawn type, this pose is usually taught with Sarvangasana (shoulder stand pose).
The main benefits of this pose include better mood stabilization, enhanced energy levels, and a relaxed nervous system.
Benefits of Plow Flip yoga pose
Named as the queen of yoga asanas, this pose helps relieve a host of health problems including hypertension, insomnia, headaches and breathing difficulty.
When practiced regularly, the pose provides you physical and mental benefits including vigor, strength, confidence, and joy.
However, this pose is not for everyone. If you have injuries in your neck region, glaucoma or high blood pressures refrain from practicing this pose. And, pregnancy and menstruation to are contraindications for the pose.
Grasshopper Pose (Maksikanagasana)
Also called as revolving flying pigeon or the dragonfly pose, this yoga pose is best for improved flexibility. At the outset, the pose can look quite complicated. You have to place your limbs in awkward positions.
The posture combines opening of your hips and a deep twist of your body. Your arm balance is also enhanced with this challenging pose.
While this hard pose requires consistent practice when you get it right you can enjoy several benefits including
Benefits of Grasshopper pose
The pose works on your shoulders, upper back, and arms while opening your pelvis and hips. Maintaining the pose requires heavy-duty backup such as working on your shoulders, arms and upper back region.
Sufficient warm-up is needed to build flexibility in your hamstrings and hips. But do not force your body to bend when it is not ready.
Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)
This advanced or hard yoga pose targets your abdominal muscles and arms. You learn to balance your body with your hands while one of your legs is stretched out and the other hooking on to your upper arm.
The pose is ideal for balance, flexibility, and strength.
Benefits of Elephant Trunk Pose
The benefits of this pose include improved coordination and balance. The pose helps stretch your groin and hips.
It can improve your agility while doing your routine tasks and for tasks that need additional pushing.
Some precautions to handle while doing this pose is placing the leg on a higher part of your body so you will find it easy to try this pose.
And makes sure the pressure on your hands is even on all sides of your palm to protect the wrists. If you have injuries in your shoulder, hip or wrist avoid doing this pose and quit if you feel sharp pain.
Flying Pigeon Pose(Eka Pada Galavasana)
This hard yoga pose is a highly challenging pose that requires good strength in the upper body and core and opened hip.
Although the pose may look difficult it can be mastered after a few times of practice.
Benefits of flying pigeon pose
The benefits of this pose include strengthening of core, arms, wrists, and shoulders. It helps stretch leg stretching or hip stretching.
It aids in better stimulation of digestive organs. However avoid this pose, if you have injuries in your wrist, knee, or hip.
Try using a strap for the upper arms, if your elbows tend to splay apart and protect the knees by flexing the right foot during the whole pose duration.
Firefly Pose (Tittibhasana)
To practice this pose, you need core strength, more than the strength of your arms. To make this pose easier, begin by sitting on the platform.
Spread your legs to ninety-degree angulation and press your palms on the floor between the legs.
Keep each heel elevated by placing it over a block. This yoga pose is not indicated in case you have injuries to the wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
Benefits of Firefly pose
The pose provides various benefits including strengthening of your wrists and arms, toning your belly, improved balance, and stretching of the back torso and inner groins.
Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)
‘Mayur’ in Sanskrit refers to Peacock and the asana indicates posture or pose. You have to balance your body on your arms alone.
Although, as you can see in the video above, the pose may look entangled, you can pull it off with some practice.
Benefits of Peacock Pose
The benefits you get with this pose include removal of toxins from the body and detoxifying it, improve digestive system function and make your abdomen stronger.
Banana (aka Crow pose)
The Crow Pose has multiple benefits. One of the major benefits I found, it develops endurance and focus which translates to mental focus and will power. It also helps keep you calm throughout the day.
Other than strengthening your mind, performing this asana every morning also strengthens many muscle groups.
These include your inner thighs, arms, back, and even the wrists.
Do it slowly and with the right steps as indicated in the video. You may end up falling a few times but that’s alright.
Shake it off, breathe, and try again. You will get the hang of it in a few tries.
A lot of dancers use this pose to strengthen multiple muscles in their body without having to hit the gym.