10 Most Challenging Yoga Postures
It’s hard to name the most challenging yoga poses, since every body is so unique. Some students would say inversions are toughest, others might have trouble with arm balances, and for the inflexible crowd, hanuman asana (splits) could be considered most difficult. In reality some of the fancy looking postures aren’t even as difficult as the more subtle poses such as mountain pose or even final relaxation.
I’ve narrowed it down to a few poses ranging from standing balances to arm balances to hip openers and inversions, that are quite challenging for even the most advanced yogi. Again keep in mind challenging is relative for each person; but, each one of these postures takes time, practice, focus, concentration, inner and outer strength and proper alignment and flexibility. I would love to hear your thoughts on which poses you find the most complicated and challenging.
Full Natarajasana (Dancing Shiva): Full Natarajasana is a challenging standing pose that requires strength in the lower limbs and core and flexibility in the shoulders, back, psoas, hip flexors and quadriceps. In a society of rounded shoulders, this posture can be quite difficult to master and takes quite a bit of heart opening work.
Flying Crow—takes a lot of hip opening, arm strength, core work and concentration and balance to perform this.
Peacock—Incredibly challenging to find the counter weight with the entire torso balancing just on the wrists and elbows. It can be difficult for people to have their elbows in their stomachs and have the back strength to lift the legs up behind. Lotus
Full Locust—Unbelievably challenging to find the strength in the lower back to hoist the legs up above the head.
Scorpion Handstand—Handstand in and of itself is hard to master then adding a deep backbend to it is extremely hard. Everything has to be perfectly balanced and the core has to be strong to not overextend in the lower back.
Tortoise—Requires a deep opening in the hips and lower back as well as the shoulder region. It’s one of the deepest forward bends and is the flip side of sleeping yogi.
Lotus—requires patience, open hips, correct alignment and a strong core.
Hanuman Asana—Splits are very challenging for many because of the hamstring and quad opening it requires for the legs. The back leg has to be open as much as the front and the torso needs to stay in between.
Marichyasana D—A deep twist that also involves lotus on one leg.
Final Relaxation—So many people can’t relax their minds these days!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!