You may have been including yoga within your wellness practice for years. You may feel like an absolute Yogi master and feel more than competent in your daily practice, having conquered the fundamentals of Yoga and the key poses.
Now, you’re seeking that next level – so how can we continue to challenge and nourish our bodies with advanced yoga flow sequences?
One thing to remember: Yoga is not a linear process.It’s a Practice.
Yoga is a never-ending journey of self-discovery; we constantly learn new movements and poses that allow us to challenge our bodies and minds and teach ourselves just what we are capable of.
Yoga can often bring us to a place of comfortable discomfort, both physically and mentally. We use it to disconnect from the stresses of our day or to aid us in our abilities to help cope with stressful or emotional situations with balance and calm.
From a physical standpoint, yoga helps us improve our mobility, flexibility, and strength, making one powerful body for us to be able to take on anything.
How to Advance in Yoga
New Yoga Flows
One way to enhance your yoga could be to try a new style. Yoga has many variations, and so it’s easy to keep your flows interesting and fresh.
If you’re looking to explore some advanced yoga flows, here are a few options for you.
Ashtanga builds an intense internal heat, achieved through a specific synchronization and pattern of breath with a progressive posture series that takes you through a warm-up and fundamental standing asana series. A combination of breathing and asana together generates heat as a potent physical detoxifier and mental clarifier, enhancing flexibility, circulation, and cardiovascular health.
Perhaps the fastest and one of the more physically intense forms of yoga, Power Yoga is focused on combinations of more quickly paced movements, as you work through varying series of asana. If you are seeking more of a workout- or physical fitness-based yoga practice, Power Yoga may be for you!
The emphasis here is on proper alignment and correct form, it is a highly refined and meticulous approach to yoga. Iyengar Yoga will enhance, advance, and maximize how much you can get out of any form of yoga practice.
Kundalini yoga is a style of yoga that uses meditation, breath, and movement to release energy coiled at the base of your spine and draw it up through your seven chakras. Kundalini and similar goal-centric styles of yoga are focused on creating an energy release, as opposed to practices usually focused on increase balance, flexibility, and strength.
New Yoga Poses
Another way to take your practice to a harder level of yoga may be that you’re ready to explore new variations and more challenging asana, so let’s get creative and explore some advanced yoga poses.
8 Advanced Yoga Poses to Try
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
This well-known pose requires some practice and flexible hips, but it’s a valuable addition to your advanced practice. A lovely pose that provides a good stretch for your thighs and ankles.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
- Bring yourself into a cross-legged seated position. Hold your ankles and bring the tops of your feet towards your thighs.
- Nestle the outside edge of your foot into your inner groin. Try to bring your knees as wide as you can and press your heels into your lower stomach.
- Use the edges of your feet to press toward the floor and lift through your sternum. Rest your palms on your knees.
Try to build up to holding the pose for a minute or two, as part of your daily practice.
Shoulder-Pressing Pose (Bhujapidasana)
An advanced balancing pose, the Shoulder-Pressing pose will help build your strength and flexibility and help your practice with arm balances.
- Begin in a forward pose with your knees slightly bent.
- Take one hand through your legs and grip your calf, placing your shoulder behind your knee.
- Stabilize your shoulder and then place your hand from the calf to the floor. Repeat the same process on your other side.
- Once both shoulders are behind the knees, lean your chest forward and carefully lower your glutes onto the backs of your upper arms.
Keep the weight forward and try to bring your feet towards each other in front of your, aiming to eventually lift and cross the ankles.
Firefly Pose (Tittibhasana)
Firefly is a great arm balance pose to follow on from Shoulder-Pressing pose that will help engage and strengthen your core, alongside your arms.
- Follow the same steps as your Shoulder-Pressing pose above
Once you are in a controlled balance, instead of crossing your ankles, inhale and try to straighten your legs.
Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)
Peacock Pose is another great pose to strengthen the core but also provides a lovely stretch and strength-boosting exercise for your palm and wrists.
- Begin in an upright seated position. Sit on your knees and heels.
- Lean your shoulders forward and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Bend your elbows slightly, ensuring your hands and elbows face inward towards you.
- Press your palms into the floor and lean your torso against the back of your upper arms. Your head will move towards the floor.
- Straighten your legs behind you, toes facing the floor.
- Engage your core as you shift the weight of your lower body to your upper body and continue to lean slightly forward toward the floor.
Carefully lift your feet off the ground, one at a time. Try to bring your legs parallel to the floor.
Headstand in Lotus (Sirsasana Pada Padmasana)
This progression to your traditional Headstand will challenge your balance in a powerfully satisfying way.
- Begin in your Headstand position.
- Bending one leg and cross it with your other leg, placing it on your opposite thigh.
Follow by bending your other leg and placing it on the opposite thigh.
Crow Pose (Bakasana)
A wonderful pose to include in your advanced arm balances, Crow will help you practice distributing your weight and maintain balance whilst strengthening your arms.
- Begin by standing at the top of your mat, with your feet wide.
- Bend your knees and bring yourself into a squat position. Keep your knees wide, but your feet as close together as possible.
- Drop your torso forward towards the mat and bring your elbows along the inside of your knees.
- Bring your palms to the mat, keeping them about shoulder distance apart. Spread your fingers and press evenly across both palms.
- Press your shins into the back of your upper arms.
- Lean forward and carefully lift your feet, one at a time.
- Engage your core and balance your torso and legs on the back of your upper arms.
Distribute your weight evenly across your palms and begin to straighten your elbows if you can. Keep your knees and shins securely tucked in behind your upper arms.
This relaxing posture gives your full body a satisfying stretch, working on your back flexibility and strengthening the abdominal muscles.
- Lie on your stomach with your hands alongside your torso, palms up.
- Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels towards your glutes.
- Reach back with your hands and take hold of your ankles.
- Inhale and press your heels away from your buttocks whilst also lifting your thighs away from the floor.
As you continue lifting the heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades together and draw the tops of the shoulders away from your ears.
Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
Strengthen your glutes and thighs, shoulders, core with this all-in-one backbend pose. Creating flexibility in your spine that will help enhance your practice.
- Lie on your back, bending your knees and bringing the soles of your feet close to glutes, whilst placed on the mat, hips’ distance apart. Reach with your fingertips to ensure you can reach your heels.
- Bend your elbows and bring the palms of your hands overhead, placing them underneath your shoulders with the fingertips pointing towards your feet.
- Press down into your palms and feet and lift your shoulders and hips from the floor.
- Use your hands and feet for leverage and bring the top of your head towards the floor. Try not to put too much weight on the neck.
- Straighten your arms as you lift your head off the floor.
- Make sure to keep your feet parallel and knees in line with your feet.
- Reach your chest towards the space behind you, rather than upwards.
- Carefully begin to straighten your legs.
Advanced Yoga Practices – It’s a journey
You may find some hardcore yoga poses that are not quite yet within your grasp, and that’s ok. It’s all part of your amazing yoga journey – each time you master a new advanced inversion or nail an advanced balancing pose, or you successfully make it to the end of a particularly hard, 30-minute advanced yoga flow – these successes are important. They are
Advanced Yoga Training – Make a Plan
We all want to feel strong. Physical strength helps us to move better, reduces the risk of injury and illness. We feel stronger, more courageous, and more resilient when we have inner as well as outer strength. Yoga helps us to build inner and outer strength for our daily lives, as well as helping us to achieve some more difficult poses and inversions.
Trying a higher level of yoga involves building strength, flexibility and putting your body in uncomfortable and unfamiliar positions. It can feel daunting, challenging yourself without support or guidance.
By utilizing in-person or online yoga courses, you can focus on dedicated classes that specifically help you to build strength or focus on core and upper body strength, so you can work on the harder positions or more creative yoga sequences with confidence.
Your stronger body will help you work your way through stronger arm balances or inversions, and with a certified Teacher on hand, you’ll be carefully guided through with an experienced eye so you can ensure excellent and safe form.
Start Your Advanced Yoga Sequences Today.
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