8 best advanced yoga poses to level up your practice

There’s a huge difference between merely practicing yoga and truly elevating your practice.

The difference lies in the poses.

Just performing the basics will only get you so far on your yoga journey.

Advancing to more complex poses, however, can completely transform your practice, letting you decide how far you want to push your limits.

Advanced yoga poses are about challenging yourself and discovering that your potential extends beyond what you thought was possible.

And trust me, there are certain poses that can help skyrocket your yoga journey.

Here are some of the best advanced yoga poses to add to your routine and level up your practice.

1) The King Pigeon Pose

There aren’t many yoga poses that challenge your flexibility and balance as much as the King Pigeon Pose.

And experienced yogis know the power of this pose.

Often, you may find yourself in a yoga routine that feels too comfortable, too easy.

And it can be very difficult to know how to push your boundaries.

Welcome to the world of the King Pigeon Pose.

The King Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is an advanced pose that targets your thighs, abdomen, chest, and shoulders.

It demands both flexibility and strength, taking your yoga practice to the next level.

Think about it.

It’s the pose you see in those awe-inspiring yoga photos, where the yogi seems to effortlessly balance their body in an almost impossible position.

When a yogi is looking for a challenge, they often turn to advanced poses like the King Pigeon.

2) The Scorpion Pose

If there’s one pose that’s truly tested my strength and balance, it’s the Scorpion Pose.

You see, the Scorpion Pose, or Vrschikasana, is not a pose to be taken lightly.

There was this one time when I was feeling pretty confident about my yoga practice.

I had mastered the basics and was smoothly transitioning into more complex poses.

So, I decided to try the Scorpion Pose.

The first time I attempted it, I was nowhere near successful.

My arms shook, my balance wavered, and I fell more times than I can count.

But each time I fell, I picked myself up and tried again.

The Scorpion Pose demands strength from your arms and upper body, not to mention extreme balance and core control.

For me, this pose became a symbol of my determination and resilience.

Practicing the Scorpion Pose regularly can truly level up your yoga practice.

It not only increases your physical strength but also improves your mental resilience.

3) The Handstand Scorpion Pose

The Handstand Scorpion Pose, or Adho Mukha Vrksasana in Scorpion Pose, is a vigorous inversion that combines the strength and balance of a handstand with the flexibility of a backbend.

In the animal kingdom, scorpions use their tails for defense and hunting.

In the world of yoga, we use the Scorpion Pose to strengthen our core, shoulders, and spine.

Now here’s something you might not know: Yoga is more than 5,000 years old, but the Handstand Scorpion Pose is a much more recent addition to the practice.

It’s believed to have emerged in the 20th century as part of modern yoga practices.

The Handstand Scorpion Pose is all about balance and control.

It demands mental focus and physical strength, making it an excellent pose for those looking to advance their yoga practice.

4) The Firefly Pose

If you’re searching for a pose that really tests your arm strength and balance, then look no further than the Firefly Pose.

Also known as Tittibhasana, this advanced yoga pose requires immense upper body strength and a strong sense of balance. But once you get it right, the satisfaction is unparalleled.

The Firefly Pose is about defying gravity. Your hands are on the ground, your legs are lifted and extended straight out in front of you. It’s like you’re flying, just like a firefly.

Practicing this pose regularly can significantly enhance your arm and core strength. Plus, it boosts your concentration and body awareness, both of which are crucial elements in any yoga practice.

So if you’re looking to add some difficulty (and fun!) to your yoga practice, why not try the Firefly Pose?

But remember, it’s always important to warm up properly before attempting such poses and to listen to your body at all times.

5) The Peacock Pose

For those who are ready to push their limits, the Peacock Pose is a powerful yoga asana to try out.

Known as Mayurasana in Sanskrit, the Peacock Pose requires considerable strength in the wrists, arms, and abdominal muscles.

This pose involves balancing your entire body weight on your hands while your legs float in the air.

It’s challenging, but incredibly rewarding once you master it.

The Peacock Pose is not just about physical strength, it’s also about mental stability.

Holding this pose requires intense focus and breath control, enhancing your mind-body connection.

Incorporating this pose into your yoga practice can significantly improve your balance and core strength, and take your practice to a whole new level.

6) The Wheel Pose

The Wheel Pose holds a special place in my heart, and not just because of the physical challenge it presents.

Known as Chakrasana in Sanskrit, the Wheel Pose is a deep backbend that demands strength, flexibility, and courage.

But what I truly love about this pose is the sense of liberation it brings.

Every time I lift myself into the Wheel Pose, I feel like I’m opening myself up to the world, shedding any fears or inhibitions that might hold me back.

The Wheel Pose is more than just a physical asana.

It’s a journey of self-discovery and self-confidence.

It’s about overcoming your fears and pushing your boundaries.

Including this pose in your yoga practice can enhance your spinal flexibility, strengthen your arms and legs, and boost your mood by reducing stress and anxiety.

So if you’re looking for a pose that not only challenges you physically but also encourages personal growth, consider trying out the Wheel Pose.

7) The Lotus Crow Pose

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the Lotus Crow Pose.

On one hand, this advanced arm balance challenges my strength, flexibility, and focus.

But on the other hand, it’s a pose that’s brought me face-to-face with my own limitations.

The Lotus Crow Pose, or Padma Bakasana, involves balancing your entire body on your hands while in a full lotus position.

Sounds tough?

It is.

But it’s also incredibly empowering.

There were times when I felt frustrated, even defeated, by this pose.

But every time I fell, I got back up.

Every time I wobbled, I found my balance again.

And each small victory made me stronger.

This pose has taught me more about resilience and perseverance than any other.

It’s shown me that it’s okay to fall, as long as you’re willing to pick yourself up and try again.

8) The Eight-Angle Pose

If you’re looking for a pose that targets multiple areas of your body while challenging your balance and strength, the Eight-Angle Pose should be on your radar.

In Sanskrit, it’s called Astavakrasana.

This arm balancing pose requires you to twist your body and balance your weight on your hands, making it an excellent test of your core strength and flexibility.

The Eight-Angle Pose is not for the faint-hearted.

It’s a complex pose that requires patience, practice, and a bit of courage.

But the sense of achievement you feel once you nail it is well worth the effort.

Practicing this pose regularly can boost your wrist and arm strength, improve your balance, and enhance your focus and concentration.

Transcends the physical postures and asanas

Yoga is deeply rooted in self-discovery, mental strength, and inner peace.

One such concept that resonates with advanced yoga practice is the ancient Sanskrit term “Sthira Sukham Asanam”.

This phrase, derived from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, signifies that every posture should achieve a balance of effort and ease.

It serves as a guiding principle for yogis venturing into advanced practices.

For those exploring the eight advanced yoga poses discussed here, bear in mind that the journey is more important than the destination.

The poses might test your strength, balance, flexibility, but ultimately, they’re tools for self-discovery.

So as you step onto your mat and delve into these poses, let Sthira Sukham Asanam guide you.

Strive for that perfect balance between effort and ease.

And most importantly, enjoy the journey and savor every moment of growth it brings.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Yoga Group to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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