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Yoga is truly about deepening one’s mind-body wellbeing and resilience. There are certain aspects about asana – or the physical practice of yoga – that are challenging both physically and mentally.

This means that you shouldn’t get caught up in “achieving” postures as a way of measuring the advancement of your practice. It’s okay – and actually rather important – to learn and struggle with challenging poses. 

Yoga as a whole is an embodied mindset on how to live, and asana is a small portion of the practice. Indeed, poses are the gateway and can often be a metaphor to realizing our wholeness and peace within. The metaphor of asana can be powerful, and can be one of our greatest teachers.

We are confronted with our personalities when we are in a physical practice Much can be learned from how we move through our “default” ways of coping and controlling. 

Do we give up too easily? Do we push further than we’re meant to? Is it hard to slow down? Do we need to pick up the pace? Are we perfectionists, or do we tend to avoid what is challenging? Do we judge ourselves if we cannot “accomplish” in ways we expect ourselves to? These are all questions worth confronting while practicing asana. 

On that note, let’s take a look at some of the more challenging poses that test your physical, mental and emotional strength!

The Most Challenging Yoga Poses

Inversions

Inversions – whether a headstand, handstand, or forearm stand – are challenging in many ways. First and foremost, these are often poses we want to “stick” quickly because they seem to be the ultimate accomplishment in a yoga practice. Unless we’re already very strong or have gymnast experience, these poses are actually quite challenging to do correctly. 

It’s tempting to bypass the process of learning this pose for the sake of an Instagram picture, but these poses take time and effort to master. It’s not easy to hold our entire bodyweight upside down! Take your time and use patience while learning inversions. Practicing against a wall is helpful, as long as you don’t get stuck on one. Finding a good teacher can also help you get to the next level. 

It’s better to learn it right the first time so that we don’t get injured. Then you can learn how to deal with frustrations around “just wanting to stick it” and be comfortable with the process of slowly improving.

Downward Facing Dog 

Yes – one of the “staple” yoga poses is often done wrong! If we don’t train our bodies properly from the beginning, we risk injury. You can easily put too much pressure on your joints (specifically elbows, shoulders, and wrists). 

Downward Facing Dog is one of those poses that is worthy of perfect alignment, because of how often we practice it. It has amazing potential  when done correctly! Downward Facing Dog is really easily done mindlessly which is why it can be one of the more challenging poses. It is really important to get it correct!

Savasana 

This is the final resting pose of yoga. It might be the most challenging “pose” for yogis to master. It’s not necessarily something you can get good at in pose achievement alone. Savasana requires us to learn how to “drop” into ourselves more easily.

The easier it becomes to turn on our resting state, the more accessible it will be for us to use in our daily lives. Don’t be that person who leave class before savasana, or you’re doing a great disservice to your wellbeing and health!

Practice!

Yoga can be harder than it looks. the difficulty goes beyond the tricky poses; the mental is equally hard to master. With dedication and practice, however, you can become an expert. Join a local yoga class, invest in a comfy yoga mat, and begin your journey! Yoga is a great low-impact workout and will also leave you with a refreshed mindset. Live better, achieve more!

Thank you for reading! Knowledge is power, and learning is key to living a better life.

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