The most challenging yoga asanas for strength and flexibility


1. Plank

Plank pose is the perfect posture to learn straight from the get-go, as it’s the epitome of a yoga practice foundation. It helps us prepare for chaturanga dandasana, reverse plank, all inversions, arm balances, and a whole lot more.

2. Low Plank

Or Chaturanga Dandasana.

Chaturanga, low pushup, or low plank, is a pivotal posture to understand, practice, and integrate into your daily yoga life. It’s part of the commonly practiced sun salutation, the sequence that’s infused into every vinyasa/power flow style class across the world.

3. Puppy Pose

Or Uttana Shishosana.

Puppy pose is a mega chest and shoulder opener, if you can’t already tell by the photo below. From the outside, it’s easy to confuse this posture as looking/feeling effortless, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The average person lives their life with the shoulders hunched forward and the heart closed off. When asking our bodies to do the exact opposite, it can feel/be a tad overwhelming + vulnerable. And that’s perfectly okay.

I’d guess that 99% of yogis experience this, me included. Take this posture slow, incorporate a block under the head at first, and remember to breathe!

4. Lotus Pose

Or Padmasana.

Lotus pose is one of those iconic, see it everywhere, printed on t-shirts, looks super peaceful kinda poses. But for how popular the posture is, it’s quite the biotch to actually get into.

Padmasana requires open hips, flexible knee joints, and a strong back. If you attempt this and get nowhere near it, it’s all good.

5. Twisted High Lunge

Or Parivrtta Anjaneyasana.

I loveeee this posture, there’s so much epicness (not a word, but needs to be) happening all at the same time.

Within this one posture, we’re feeling all of the below:

  • Extension.
  • Expansion.
  • Strength.
  • Surrender.
  • Release.

Told ya, it’s complex.

6. Half Moon Posee

Or Ardha Chandrasana.

In this pose, we’re experiencing it all.

  • Balancing on one leg + one arm up in the sky.
  • Incredible strength + participation from both the standing and lifted legs.
  • Openness in the hips.
  • Confidence to integrate all of this into a shape & actually enjoy it.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into this baby.

7. Revolved Half Moon

Or Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana.

As if half moon wasn’t enough, we then twist our body into a weird ass shape.

Yup, that’s yoga for ya.

8. Warrior 3

Or Virabhadrasana III.

Warrior 3 asks us to practice extension + expansion + balance all at the same time. Like many of the poses above, it will require consistent patience and practice to embody the full expression.

And while we journey to this place, let’s practice enjoying the ride!

p.s. – Notice the the bend in my standing leg, definitely recommend this for tight hamstrings…. which is basically everyone!

9. Revolved Triangle

Or Parivrtta Trikonasana.

Revolved triangle requires a ridiculously rooted lower body that allows the upper body to revolve and open. It’d be impossible to experience the posture without a firm, rooted, and grounded being.

I recommend using a block here and moving incredibly slow to focus on the small, subtle adjustments that can be made.

10. Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

Or Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana.

Just looking at the pic below, I can see challenge in my eyes – Don’t fall Allie, stand up straight, open through the heart, support the standing leg, open the front leg.

What does your face look like in this pose?

11. Dancer

Or Natarajasana.

Dancer pose is like many others on this list, it requires strength and length.

Focus on stabilizing the bottom half of the pose through the standing leg, while lengthening the upper half of the pose through the hamstring, quadricep, back, and chest. There’s a lot that happens, but most importantly – remember to always focus on creating length, versus height.

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