What yoga posture is good for peace
For the brave: the most difficult asanas in the world
We actually thought we had made it, we advanced. Many of us master the handstand, headstand, and even the lotus position. And before anyone gets the wrong idea: We don't do it out of vanity, but out of love for yoga. Maybe also because we learned how good it feels to keep a cool head in difficult asanas and to be able to continue breathing. So far, so advanced. But there are asanas that are so blatant that the question arises: is this still yoga?
When this question arises, we at YogaEasy always say enthusiastically: Yes, logo. We don't want to dictate what yoga is to anyone, and we have the deepest confidence that yoga will prevail in the end.
Decide for yourself whether these asanas are still yoga for you! By the way, there is a nice side effect when you think about it: You will find out what yoga means for yourself and which asanas are important - and whether you are even thinking of asanas.
But first of all for fun, to be amazed - and rather not to imitate:
It must be quite a surprise when you suddenly feel the tips of your toes on your head. Theoretically, this posture can be balanced well because the center of gravity is lower than in the normal forearm stance. But only theoretically. Alternative for everyone who doesn't feel up to the massive back bend: Close your eyes and let someone put a new hat on you. Also a surprise.
Also called "turtle". You surely know the story of the turtle and Achilles. The two go in a race, the turtle has a head start, but Achilles, the fastest man in the world, cannot catch up with them. The turtle is also the winner in yoga: If you can still breathe easily here, you won't be disturbed beyond the mat.
Attention, there is also a much simpler version of Shalabhasana, a gentle stretching of the front of the body that can be done comfortably while lying down. This variant here requires infinite strength in the stomach, extreme mobility in the back, solid private insurance and in general - please just forget about it immediately ...
Excursus: Dr. Ronald Steiner and his morning yoga practice
If you are thinking to yourself right now: Honestly, what's the point - nobody does such exercises, and why should one ?! Then we have a video for you: Our esteemed Ashtanga yoga expert Dr. Ronald Steiner practices yoga almost every morning from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Here you can see excerpts from Ronald's daily practice, specifically: the third Ashtanga yoga series. In Ashtanga Yoga you practice set asana series in harmony with the breath, so that a moving meditation arises. The third series includes 35 asanas, some of which are very demanding - those who master these with calm breath will be rewarded withSthira Bhaga, the sublime calm.
4. Padmasana Mayurasana
This asana - the peacock with lotus legs - on the other hand, is easier than it looks, provided you have mastered the lotus. The trick is to counterintuitively soften the abdomen and bring the tips of the elbows together and let them sink deep into the abdomen. In the end, our model doesn't quite manage that here, you can confidently lift your head and also feel a wonderful tiny back bend. Our ancestors used them when they felt sick and wanted to spit out food poisoned by the enemy as quickly as possible. So if you're being followed by the Secret Service, get in.
This variant of Urdhva Dhanurasana should only be done by those who have very open shoulders. What that means: hard preparatory work until you can really get your elbows and shoulders on top of each other. Benefit: a sensational breast opening. Anyone who can slide from the headstand into this posture also needs a steel core to slow down the pace and not risk anything. Otherwise there are certainly other ways to play with a kitten (ball of yarn, etc.).
This posture also looks more difficult than it is. Here, too, the prerequisite: open shoulders and a solid understanding of the internal rotation of the thighs in this position. Stretching the front of the body as a reward would be worth it. Likewise, the idea of how tough a frog's life is when they have to cross an intersection quickly.
7. Eka Pada Sirsasana
All you need for this regenerating reverse posture is a few decades of Olympic gymnastics, natural elegance (the splayed fingers of your right hand) and hot pants. The weight distribution is worth mentioning. It is possible to draw a line from her left hand on the floor over the shoulder, torso and hips of the young lady. So she can balance the weight. The splayed fingers may look like decoration, but they are existential: when there is tension in the fingers, tension increases throughout the body. In a pinch, you can do that when you hold a Long Island Iced Tea in this hand.
Hardly any other attitude brings inner peace as quickly as this one. Attention: only those whose feet and knees can easily reach the ground are allowed to stretch their arms away from the body. Otherwise, please continue to support your back with your hands and not quarrel with fate. Inner contemplation is also possible in this way.
9. Garbha Pindasana
Even those who do not have colorful trousers can enjoy this attitude. It is a combination of balance and hip opener. As soon as you approach the whole thing with the famous playful approach, you will reach your goal faster than you thought. Important: pull your legs in strongly from your stomach.
10. Gandha Bherundasana
As with Vrichikasana and Shalabhasana, there is a lot of shoulder work in addition to a massive back bend. The elbows support the posture, tons of weight sit on the wrists. Plus the dangerous stretch in the neck ... I just can't find anything positive about it, sorry. So hands off, if you can say that.
In my experience as a teacher, by the way, there are two asanas that are much more difficult for some than the ones shown:
- Turn off your mobile phone while practicing (no vibration alarm either) and put it far away.
- Shavasana (not canceling relaxation at the end, not rushing into the shower first, not packing up noisily and leaving while everyone else is resting).
And now it is your turn. What are your most difficult asanas?
Kristin Rübesamen is a certified Jivamukti and Om Yoga teacher. She lived in New York and London for over a decade and did her training personally with Sharon Gannon and David Life (Jivamukti) and Cyndi Lee (Om Yoga). As a yoga activist, editor-in-chief of YogaEasy and yoga teacher, she has been teaching a very focused, yet challenging style for almost 20 years. She is the author of "Everyone is Enlightened" and "The ABC of Yoga".
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