Some yogis love challenge poses. The post-challenge pose high cannot be denied, and now we’re more inspired than ever with advanced asana being displayed regularly on Instagram, and more intricate arm balances and inversions gracing the covers of our favorite yoga reads.
In a lot of ways, a home practice is a more advanced practice; it requires stillness, will, and self-inquiry. But many yogis who practice at home save their more challenging asanas for when they are within a group setting or studying with a teacher one-on-one.
You should always honor where you are in your practice, but know that you can work on ‘challenge’ poses within your home practice in a way that is safe, supportive, and customized to your needs. Here are some tips to master challenging yoga poses at home.
1. Break it down to its tiniest parts.
Complex asanas are made up of smaller, less complex asanas. When you begin to truly break down each pose into its smaller “pieces,” it becomes more accessible and gives you the working knowledge of how the postural alignment and anatomy work.
Don’t be afraid to work consistently and regularly on postures that build intellect, strength, and flexibility within your body.
Over time, these poses may start to feel “boring” and lackluster for you (Triangle, again!?), but keep at them because they deserve much respect and will provide the foundation of advanced asana.
2. Know the ins and outs of the pose.
The more you explore the tiniest parts that make up more complicated postures, the stronger your understanding will grow of how to modify, vary, and use props efficiently in each pose.
If you aren’t sure of what’s happening in each posture, or which muscle groups are being worked in the pose, begin to weave down the path of self-study.
3. Don’t forget a teacher.
An at-home yoga practice doesn’t mean you are a teacher-less yogi traipsing the yoga experience alone. In fact, everyone should seek out a teacher that they can learn and grow from, someone that they can use as a resource for refining and sustaining their personal home practice.
Use the time you have with a trusted teacher to continue to refine challenging postures that are appropriate for you and build the confidence in the yoga practice itself.
If challenge poses are part of your yoga experience and you want to begin to master them in your home practice, hopefully you find these tips helpful.
What’s your take on challenge poses within your home yoga practice? Do you regularly practice them—why or why not?