As a student of the Feel Good Yoga and Pilates yoga teacher training program, I was lucky enough to receive an in-depth understanding of various poses, however, all the understanding in the world doesn’t necessarily make some poses easy to put to practice.
Today, I am sharing my top five challenging yoga poses and how I work with them in my day-to-day practice.
Bakasana (Crane Pose)
While I find Bakasana or Crane Pose is one of those yoga poses that looks a lot harder than it is, there is still some serious upper body strength required as well as balance.
Arm balance and lifting my feet off the ground is a challenge for me. My problem is fear; fear of falling flat on my face and breaking my nose.
To overcome my frustration while practicing the pose, I think about the patient vigilance of a crane and often use a prop to ease my anxiety.
Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose)
This pose is a powerful arm and wrist strengthener and arm balance is something that I need build. While practicing, and putting all that pressure on one arm, I fear that I am going hurt my wrist.
To continue to get the benefits of the pose, but put less pressure on my wrist, I often practice with the soles of my feet pressed against a wall. When you shift onto the outside of your left foot, press the sole against the wall. Similarly, when you stack your right foot on top of the left, press that sole to the wall. It really does do wonders!
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
An excellent way to stretch and lengthen the hamstrings, I really do love this pose, though I find it challenging for my body.
As someone with very tight hamstrings, to avoid injury, I bend my knees while practicing this pose and if I’m feeling tight, I will use a block in front of me so that the ground doesn’t seem so far away.
Upavista Konasana (Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend)
This is an ideal pose to stretch the abductor muscles as well as the hamstrings.
Since I have tight hamstrings, it is difficult for me to really delve into this pose. To accommodate the pose for my body, I use a block or a strap which both help to achieve the benefits, but ensure I’m not pushing myself too far.
Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Head Stand)
This pose really helps to calm the mind and relax the muscles.
My challenge with this pose is that I still cannot get into without the support of a wall. It’s challenging because I feel disappointed in myself. However, as a good yogini I constantly remind myself to practice patience and I will eventually get there.
Day-to-day our bodies need different things, yesterday we might have been able to stretch deeply, but today, our body is asking us to relax. The most important thing to do is listen to what your body is telling you, by honoring those needs, you’ll have a great practice every time.
Let us know what yoga poses you find challenging.
Editor: Sarah Head