Every yogi has seen those incredible postures that make your heart race. Sometimes called “pretzel postures” or simply “impossible”, there are many highly advanced asanas and modifications out there that are both mind-blowing and gravity-defying! Many practitioners will go their entire lives without attempting these postures, but they are indeed inspiring.
Extreme yoga poses that are guaranteed to inspire your daily practise:
Image Source: Patrick Beach
Pungu Mayurasana – Wounded Peacock
Peacock pose is a mighty display of upper body prowess and lower body control. However, when you get a look at Wounded Peacock, your mind may be blown by how impossible it looks. Yet people have done it, so it is not something unattainable. The one-armed balance in Pungu Mayurasana calls for balance in both sides of the body, mental awareness and a strong core.
Sirsa Padasana – Head to Toe Pose
Yes, it looks similar to Scorpion with one major difference, you are not holding yourself in a hand, shoulder, or forearm stand. Rather, the chest is pressed firm against the ground. The elbows are up, and the feet hover just above the crown of the head. No doubt, this requires exceptional flexibility of the spine, spinal strength, and extreme mental focus to maintain a steady breath.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar
Vrschikasana – Scorpion with a Broken Tail
The asana known as Scorpion is already tough to achieve, because it is a forearm stand. Then you have to worry about get both feet towards the crown of the head. In the Broken Tail variation, one foot is point to the knee of the opposite leg, which is in standard Scorpion pose position. This throws off the balance slightly, making it look both beautiful and gravity-defying.
Eka Hasta Vrksasana – One Handed Tree Pose
Balancing in Handstand may be enough of a challenge for you. Now imagine trying to do that one-handed with your legs apart. Surprisingly, Eka Hasta Vrksasana is part of the 5th and 6th series in Ashtanga yoga, meaning it is something you can definitely work towards and hopefully achieve. Hone your inner core strength and strengthen those wrists!
Yoganidrasana – Yogic Sleep Pose
Essentially, the yogic sleep pose is Supta Kurmasana flipped onto your back—but it looks crazy difficult nonetheless. Both feet are resting behind the head like a pillow, and the back is flush against the ground. For this pose you need a lot of hip and spine mobility, because you have to be able to lower your legs level to the chest then tuck each foot behind your head. Both arms also reach behind the back to allow the fingers to clasp together.
Kala Bhairavasana – Destroyer of the Universe Pose
Just one look at this pose will make a lot of people say, “Nope,” look again, and repeat “Nope” a few more times. Kala Bhairavasana looks mighty impressive, because placing one leg behind the head while hold the body in side plank is extremely difficult. To achieve this pose, you need tremendous concentration and athleticism, as well as very supple hips.
“In the beginning it's always dark. The mind thinks (and leads us to believe) that this darkness is forever. But the body can feel the light; and as soon as it's allowed, will always grow towards it. That's nature, That's yoga.” ~ Amy Jirsa
So which of these crazy postures would you someday hope to achieve?
Remember, even the simplest of yoga postures once looked impossible to you. Think about how far you have come and how much farther you can continue to push yourself. One day, you may be doing Pungu Mayurasana and Kala Bhairavasana like the pros!