When you're new to yoga, the thought of nailing those crazy yoga poses you see in pictures or in videos is exciting.
Three cool yoga poses that you may want to aspire toward include Pungu Mayurasana (Wounded Peacock), Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose), and Taraksvasana (Handstand Scorpion).
Just remember that before you attempt these yoga positions, you'll have to work through the basics or you will hurt yourself. Invest in some quality yoga gear, such as a a good pair of yoga leggings and a mat, for more protection and greater ease attempting the poses as well.
1. Pungu Mayurasana (Wounded Peacock)
Wounded Peacock Pose is a variation of Peacock Pose in which you balance on one hand instead of both. With the hand in the air, you reach backwards.
Pungu Mayurasana improves digestion in addition to strengthening your shoulders, arms, and wrists. Other health benefits of Pungu Mayurasana are toning of the lungs and abdominal Viscera and relieving constipation. This is an advanced position that requires a lot of practice to master.
The peacock signifies strength, compassion, beauty, and the ability to digest venom. Some claim that Mayurasana (Peacock Pose) enables you to digest deadly poisons. However, it's not suggested you test this for yourself! While uncertain whether the benefit is to that extent, it is certain that Mayurasana and Pungu Mayurasana aid in digestion.
For a deeper understanding of Wounded Peacock Pose, it helps to know the yogic story behind it: Each time the peacock destroyed a snake, an earthly attachment was eliminated. Keep this in mind to gain spiritual benefits from Pungu Mayurasana.
Tips for Pungu Mayurasana:
- Point your fingers outwards.
- Keep your back straight, especially while trying to get into the pose.
- Don't jump into the posture because it may cause you to lose your balance.
- Try with the other hand after relaxing in Shashankasana (Rabbit Pose).
- You can practice with your feet separated in Pungu Mayurasana, but gradually work your way up to doing it with your feet together.
Don't do this move if you are pregnant, menstruating, have glaucoma, or have high blood pressure. Also don't attempt it after abdominal surgery.
2. Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)
Yoga Sleep Pose sounds like it would be relaxing, and it supposedly is for advanced yogis, but it looks rather uncomfortable (as many crazy yoga poses do). Yoganidrasana (a.k.a. Yoga Nidrasana) involves folding yourself into a knot. It's basically Sleeping Turtle (Supta Kurmasana), but on your back.
Ironically, as crazy as Yoganidrasana looks, the pose promotes deep relaxation. Beyond relaxation, Yoga Sleep Pose triggers pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses while remaining connected with the universe). In other words, this yoga pose helps you find inner peace that cannot be shaken by the stress in your life.
Additional benefits of Yoga Sleep Pose is stretching of the deep muscles in the spine, stretching of small muscles and ligaments in the neck, increasing spinal flexibility, improving the central nervous system, and reducing anxiety.
To safely practice Yoganidrasana, you must have open hips and loose hamstrings. Thus, if you're not ready to comfortably place your legs behind your head, you will have to work on increasing flexibility in your hamstrings and hips.
Legends surrounding Yoganidrasana explain that ancient yogis fell asleep in this pose. But it's probably not a good idea to try sleeping like that during the night.
Tips for Yoganidrasana:
- Hold your feet beside the toes or in the middle to gain better leverage.
- Don't hold the posture with force, as this makes breathing more difficult.
Don't do this move if you are menstruating, pregnant, or have injuries in the legs, back, hips, or waist.
3. Taraksvasana (Handstand Scorpion)
The regular Scorpion Pose is done on the forearms, but the Handstand Scorpion, as the name suggests, brings you up onto your hands. You can either have both legs resting near your head or straighten one leg.
The story behind Taraksvasana is the combination of Taraka (a demon who was slain by the God of war) and Sva (internal power). Practicing Taraksvasana increases internal power, improves balance, and strengthens the back, abdominal, and shoulders.
Tips for Taraksvasana:
- Shift your shoulders down and away from your ears.
- Tuck your pelvis under for balance.
Don't do this pose if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or have injuries of the back, spine, or wrist.
Wounded Peacock, Yoga Sleep Pose, and Handstand Scorpion are three beneficial and challenging yoga poses worth aspiring toward. Not only do you receive physical benefits from them, but spiritual and mental as well.
Once you move your body into a position that seemed impossible, you'll begin to have more faith in yourself and your ability to accomplish your goals.
What are your favorite advanced asanas to practice? Share with us below!