5 Advanced Yoga Poses
What's a yoga journey without advancement? If you are looking to try yoga as a form of daily workout or you are a fitness addict who found yoga as a good supplement, then check out our blog of "Yoga for Beginners" first.
With consistent practice, your body begins to build strength and flexibility as it gets used to basic asana postures. This newfound physical power is required in attempting more advanced yoga poses as they get a little more complicated. Combine the complexities of certain poses with a lot of your body weight leaning on individual limbs, you start to understand the importance of mastering basic poses first. We suggest gaining confidence with basic postures and know the limits of your body before attempting any of these poses.
With a yoga mat, position your body to face the long edge of your mat. First, get onto your hands and knees, ensure your hands are directly below your shoulders while your knees are right below your hips. Then gradually move both knees outwards towards the sides. You will feel a stretch in your inner thighs and groin area. As you feel your muscle stretch, take deep breaths to help you get into the pose. As your hips open, turn your feet outwards, so the inner side and ankles touch the floor. Next, slowly put your elbows down to the mat with your forearms flat against the floor. Take long, deep breaths in this pose. If you are unable to breathe deeply, that suggests that you are overstretching. In that case, adjust your stretch accordingly. The benefits of this pose are to open your hips, inner thighs, groin muscles, and strengthen your core.
Managing to do a crow pose will boost your confidence in moving on to other poses that require arm balance. Start with a standing mountain pose and bend your knees deep enough for your palms to plant firmly onto your mat. Make sure your hands are placed directly below your shoulders and should be about one-foot distance in front of both feet. To secure your hands in position, spread your fingers apart, then push them into your mat for that extra support. Start to bend your elbows slightly and as you raise your legs up through the balls of your feet, align your knees with your upper arms. Lean your knees on the back of your upper arms and move your body weight forward onto your hands while keeping your head lifted. Slowly lift off one foot at a time and find your body weight balancing on both arms. It helps to engage your inner thigh strength and tuck your feet nearer to your butt. Your body should feel a sense of lift instead of a slump. Practicing your crow pose frequently and with control will improve the strength in your forearms, core, wrists, and balance.
If you want to move onto backbends, it may be worthwhile working on your pigeon pose first. Work your way into a downward-facing dog pose, aligning your hands and feet. As if getting into a deep lunge, lift your right foot off the mat and move your right knee towards the outer side of your right hand. Land your right knee on the mat with your lower leg bent inward towards your hip or have your shin lie parallel to the top of your mat. The landing of your right leg will naturally cause your left leg to follow through, so your entire left leg rests elongated and firmly towards the back of the mat. The top of your left foot should touch the surface of your mat, and toes pointed towards the back. Square your hips to the front, fold your arms together and fold forward over your bent right leg. Attempt to stretch deeper by placing your head on your folded arms. Breathe deeply into each stretch. Pigeon pose helps stretch your back, thighs, hips, and groin. It is also suitable for easing into splits over time.
Performing headstands require not only physical but mental strength as the pose gets you in an upside-down position. Placing your hands and feet firmly on your mat, hands directly below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Then start lowering your forearms and rest them securely onto your mat with your shoulders now directly over your elbows. Use your hands to fold your arms with your right hand grabbing your left elbow and left hand, grabbing your right elbow to ensure your arms are the correct distance apart. Then move your hands toward each other to interlock your fingers, forming a triangle with your elbows. Next, put the crown of your head onto your mat then place the back of your head resting on your hands. Move on to straighten your legs as if doing a downward-facing dog. Slowly walk your feet towards your head until your hips go over your shoulders as much as possible. While engaging your arms and your core, bring your right leg toward your chest. Then with control, bring your left leg toward your chest next to your other leg. Breathe and engage your entire body. It helps to use a wall or have someone help you at the beginning. Practicing this pose benefits your muscles overall, especially your shoulders and core.
The Scorpion pose is all about achieving a headstand, but with a little extra complexity. Once you've completed your headstand with your legs stretched and pointed upwards, begin to bend your knees slightly backward like a curve. Then lift your head and look forward without bending your neck too much to the back. In this pose, your hips will be positioned over your head as your body curls backward into a C-shape. Having strength and stability is critical in this pose, so only attempt it when you are physically fit and have mastered the basics. With practice, you will be able to touch the crown of your head with your toes.
As you can tell by now, asanas require your body to be placed in a precise alignment that complements human physiology. This is to make sure the body is in the right position to carry our specific maneuvers and poses to minimize the risk of injury. Watching videos on how to perform different poses will help you mentally prepare yourself for what needs to be considered. With that in mind, it is vital to listen to your body and to know your limits when performing various poses before choosing to push much further than necessary. As long as you stick to this rule of thumb, use the right workout mat with proper support and listen to your instructors, you will experience an enriching yoga journey.
Team Asana Singapore
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