Breath or prana is one of the most important aspects of yoga. Whether you can contort…
Many people think of yoga as something that only contortionists can do. This won’t come as a surprise to you though when you actually see some of the crazy yoga poses that are practiced.
The 10 Crazy Yoga Poses introduced to you in this article may make you shake your head and want to stay far away from yoga. If that is in fact the case, remember that it often takes yogis many months or years of disciplined practice to attain these poses. If you look at it that way, yoga is no different from any other acquired skill such as cooking or making music.
Simply start with what you have and build a solid foundation that will slowly but surely enable you to delve deeper and deeper into your body and mind. In time, you’ll find that there’s an entire world of crazy yoga poses available to you.
Always remember though that yoga isn’t only about getting into crazy yoga poses. It’s about getting to know and becoming one with your body, as well as creating space where you may be stuck, either in your body or your mind. Once you start you feel the many ways in which yoga can benefit your overall well-being, you’ll quickly find that becoming more flexible and being able to get into crazy yoga poses is simply a nice side effect.
1. Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)
The pose takes you to an extreme in terms of hip mobility and hamstring flexibility and resembles a Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold. However, instead of reaching your hands forward, you slide them underneath your knees and stretch them out on either side of your body. Point your feet forward and place your hands on the ground with your palms downwards. To do this, your entire chest must be completely on the ground.
To get a good foundation for this pose, start by practicing Standing Wide Legged Forward Fold.
2. Svarga Dvijasana (Bird of Paradise Pose)
In addition to being a deep hip and hamstring opener, Bird of Paradise Pose helps you work on your shoulder mobility and your balance.
To practice this pose, you must be able to hold your leg straight up and support it with your arm (same side), which is bent at the elbow and binds (holds on to) your opposite hand behind your back.
Start out in Bound Extended Side Angle Pose, which engages the same muscles, joints, and tendons as this pose, except that you have both feet on the ground to support you.
As soon as you have a solid foundation in this asana, keep the bind in your arms and hop your back leg forward so both feet are in line with each other. As you inhale to raise your torso, continue to hold up your front leg with your arms.
You might need to keep your raised leg bent at first but with time you’ll be able to extend your toes towards the sky.
3. Maksikanagasana (Grasshopper Pose)
Grasshopper Pose is both a hip opener and a spinal twist that challenges your balance and stability. It’s therefore very important to properly warm up before getting into this pose.
Incorporating elements into your regular practice that strengthen your core, shoulders, and arm muscles will also help you prepare your body for this pose.
From a standing position, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Twist your body to the left and place your hands on the ground next to your left foot. Position your right foot over your right elbow and while you lean to the left and forward, allow your left leg to lift off the mat.
Just remember to breathe, enjoy, and have fun while exploring your sense of balance in this twisted balancing pose that will no doubt challenge you in a good way, both physically and mentally.
And don’t forget to repeat the pose on the other side of your body.
4. Yoganidrasana – Yoga Sleep Pose
Not many would look at this pose and imagine it being a restful slumber. Deep stretches do however release the hormone serotonin as well as a host of endorphins, which relax your body even more and make you feel good.
As you lie on your back, your legs will resemble a cradle around you, and your feet, which are crossed at the ankles and placed behind your head, will act as a pillow.
If you can’t place your feet behind your head, you can gently hold them in place (however far back you can reach them). Alternatively, you can simply bring your palms together in front of your chest in Namaste.
In order to increase your hip mobility and prepare your body for this pose, start by practicing Happy Baby Pose with your knees bent and your hands holding on to the outside of your feet.
5. Bhekasana (Frog Pose)
Frog Pose is a powerful animal yoga pose that will provide your body with a powerful stretch no matter how long you’ve been practicing yoga. Although you already need a certain amount of flexibility to get into the pose, the pose itself will help you to open up your body even more and increase your level of mobility.
Frog Pose helps develop flexibility in your quads, hips, and chest, as well as your shoulders and wrists. It also increases the strength of your back muscles and arms, which you need for holding the pose.
For starters, lie down on your stomach. Place your forearms on the mat, push yourself up into Sphynx Pose, and spread your legs so that your knees are further apart than hip width distance.
Bend your knees and move your feet towards your buttocks. Moving one arm at a time, reach back to hold the backs of your toes and push them down towards your buttocks.
Push your chest forward to help you hold your body up like a frog that’s ready for its next jump.
Work your way up to this pose by opening up your hips with Reclining Hero Pose.
6. Chakrasana (Wheel Pose on Elbows Variation)
Chakra is the Sanskrit word for wheel. It’s also a word that describes various energy centers, the most famous of which are the seven chakras located in the central channel of the human body. Wheel Pose is a deep backbend that’s said to activate all seven chakras at once.
The variation in which your elbows are bent and your hands are placed under your chin for support should only be practiced when you become confident in the depth and stability of your backbend.
Practice for this pose by doing the normal Wheel Pose and placing both of your hands on the floor. You may even start with the crown of your head on the mat too for extra support. To ensure that your neck doesn’t feel too much pressure, make sure not to put too much weight on your head.
Once you start feeling comfortable in Wheel Pose, you may progress by bending your elbows to practice Wheel on Forearms and then later move on to where you can rest your chin in your hands.
7. Astavakrasana (Eight-Angle Pose)
Astavakrasana is definitely one of the crazy yoga poses that look like an impressive asymmetrical arm balance with your legs extended to one side. Interestingly enough, crossing your feet at the ankles does actually help with the stability of the pose.
To build a foundation for this pose, start by developing your core, back, and arm strength with Crow and Side Crow Poses.
To get into Eight Angle Pose, start in a standing position with your feet slightly wider than when you’re in Mountain Pose. Bend your knees, come into Chair Pose, and bring your palms to the floor on your right side, as if you were preparing to get into a Side Crow.
Thread your left arm between your legs and slide your legs up so that your knees are above your elbow. Squeeze your legs for more stability as you lift up.
Extend your legs out to the side with your feet crossed at the ankles and keep your elbows hugged in towards your body.
8. Vrschikasana (Scorpion Pose)
Scorpion Pose is a challenging and energizing backbend that you may build on if you already have a regular practice that includes other inversions like Handstands and Forearm Stands. It stretches your hip flexors and chest muscles and strengthens your arms, back, core, and shoulders.
Begin with a solid foundation in Forearm Stand. Push your elbows into the ground and spread your fingers wide.
Look forward as you bend your knees. Carefully move your pelvis and hips forward and towards the area above your head to create a C-shape with your body that resembles a scorpion’s tail that’s ready to sting.
Point your toes and bring your feet together but keep your knees opened wide and hip width distance apart. With practice, your toes may eventually touch the top of your head but make sure to always focus on your strength and stability rather than your flexibility.
9. Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose)
Firefly Pose is a real test of your arm strength, balance, leg flexibility, and hip mobility.
Prepare for this pose by increasing your strength and stability in Crow and Crane Pose. To build up to Tittibhasana, extend either one leg at a time or both legs simultaneously (forward and up).
As you hold this pose, make sure to always look forward and keep your neck relaxed. Hollow your chest and broaden your shoulders to round your upper back and enable your torso to lift even higher.
10. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
What pose is crazier than an asana that invites you to embody a corpse? Well, that’s exactly what Savasana asks you to do. Unlike the modern-day and Western idea of a dead body, however, the “corpse” in Savasana and Yogic Philosophy is Shiva, or pure consciousness.
But Savasana isn’t just about lying on the ground and not moving. It’s not even about achieving a state of complete relaxation. It’s about allowing yourself to let go of all the expectations that you or others may have placed on you. It’s about no longer judging yourself for the things you can and cannot do, be it now, in the past, or in the future. It’s about being aware of the present moment and accepting what is.
Yoga practitioners, particularly those who are naturally flexible and have the anatomy of a contortionist, have always been known for their ability to get into crazy yoga poses. It’s so important though to always be mindful of the fact that yoga isn’t about whether or not you’re able to get your feet behind your head. It’s about your state of mind as you allow yourself, your mind, and your body to open up into these more intricate poses and become one with your body.