What's the Hardest Yoga Pose? 15 Most Challenging Asanas (2023)

If you’re looking to increase strength, balance, and flexibility (while also flexing your skills), here are some of the most advanced yoga poses to try.

Are you a seasoned yogi with an impressive repertoire of poses? Or are you still working on mastering Corpse Pose or Mountain Pose?

Regardless of your experience level, there’s no doubt that some yoga poses are harder than others, but they’re all great for your health.

So, which poses are the most challenging? Here’s a look at some of the hardest yoga poses and why they’re so tough to master.

Which yoga pose is most advanced?

  1. Chin Stand
  2. Crow Pose
  3. One-Legged Crow Pose
  4. Handstand
  5. Scorpion Handstand
  6. Headstand
  7. Forearm Stand
  8. Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose
  9. Compass Pose
  10. Split Pose
  11. Eight-Angle Pose
  12. Mermaid Pose
  13. Dancer Pose
  14. Destroyer of the Universe Pose
  15. One-Handed Tree Pose

Note: If you’re still improving your yoga practice or totally new to these poses, working with a seasoned yoga instructor is the best way to learn these poses correctly (and to make sure you do them safely!).

Chin Stand is an advanced inversion pose that combines a strong arm balance and a backbend. You’ll need strong arms and shoulders to lift your bod off the floor, as well as epic levels of concentration and coordination.

You’ll be rewarded with increased upper body strength, a solid core, improved focus and concentration, and less stress.

How it’s done: Start in Plank Pose. Lower your chest and chin to the mat, keeping hips raised. Next, engage your core and lift one leg to the sky, then the other, while resting your body on your hands and chin.

Be careful to maintain balance and alignment in your body so you don’t fall.

Crow Pose means you’ll be balancing on your arms. You’ll need a great deal of upper body strength and coordination to lift your hips and legs off the floor and into the air. That’s why it’s one of the hard yoga poses.

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The benefits of Crow Pose include strengthening your arms and core and opening your hips.

How it’s done: Start in a low squat with feet hip-width apart and hands on the mat in front of you. Place your knees on the backs of your arms and lean forward, lifting your feet off the floor and pressing your palms firmly into the mat.

One-Legged Crow Pose is an advanced variation of Crow Pose.

This full-body pose is a tricky variation that will energize your whole body and help improve your balance. Research suggests that yoga may even improve your thinking ability and brain health.

How it’s done: Begin in Crow. Then, pull one knee toward your chest, shift your weight forward, and extend the opposite leg toward the sky.

Handstand is an advanced inversion pose that takes considerable strength and balance to execute. You’ll improve your coordination and core strength as you lift your legs.

How it’s done: Start in Downward-Facing Dog with your feet hip-width apart. Then, slowly walk your hands forward until they’re directly below your shoulders. Lift one leg at a time into the air and press your palms firmly into the mat as you balance.

Be careful not to arch your back or let your hips sag. You may want to practice with cushions and a soft surface in case you fall.

Scorpion Handstand is a handstand variation, and it’s a toughie that requires supreme balance, strength, and flexibility.

How it’s done: Start in a handstand position with your butt facing a wall. Touch the wall with your toes, and then gradually move them toward your head until your knees are bent.

6. Headstand (Sirsasana)

(Video) The most difficult yoga asana

The Headstand is an advanced inversion pose where you literally stand on your head. The pose takes a lot of core strength and balance.

How it’s done: Start in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the mat. Dip down until the top of your head is resting between your hands. Push your butt up, straighten your legs, slowly walk your feet closer to your head, and then lift your hips into the air and extend your legs straight. (Easy, right ? 😅)

Take your time to balance and ask someone to spot you if you think you might take a tumble.

Like other inversion poses, Forearm Stand helps improve circulation and encourages blood to travel from the extremities back to the heart. And, of course, it requires solid balance, a strong upper body, and stellar core strength.

How it’s done: Begin in Dolphin Pose and walk your feet toward your hands. Lift one leg to the sky, then the other. Don’t forget to engage your core and press your forearms into the mat.

Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose is a stretching, bending, and balancing move that helps stabilize your core and open your hips. In addition, research suggests that performing standing yoga moves can increase self-esteem and have an energizing effect.

How it’s done: Start in a standing position. Transfer your weight to your left foot. Lift your right foot off the floor and squeeze the knee to your body with both hands.

When balanced, wrap two fingers of your right hand around your right big toe, extend your leg forward, and swing it around to the side. Lift your left arm for balance. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Compass Pose is a seated twisting move that stretches and opens up your hamstrings, chest, and glutes. You need to be very flexible for this pose (like, “put your feet behind your head” flexible).

How it’s done: Begin in a seated position. Try to position your right leg back and over your right shoulder. Place right hand on the floor to balance you, and grasp right foot with left hand. Open your chest and feel the energy flow through your body. Repeat on the other side.

Split Pose helps with strength and balance while stretching your hamstrings and opening your hips. If you haven’t already guessed by the name, it’s essentially a classic split.

How it’s done: Start in a low lunge with your back knee down and hands on either side of your hips. Move your back foot so the top rests on the mat and your toes are pointed. Slowly slide front foot out while pointing toes. Feel the deep stretch in your hamstrings and hip flexors.

Remember not to push the movement, as you risk injury to your lower back and leg tendons.

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Eight-Angle Pose is one of those yoga pretzel poses that also requires a ton of balance. It’s hands-down (literally) one of the hardest yoga poses and brings engagement from head to toe, particularly in your arms and inner thighs.

How it’s done: Sit with your legs in front of you. Wrap your right leg over your right shoulder, then place left leg in front of right hand.

Hook your ankles together, lean forward, and lift your hips while squeezing inner thighs toward one another and stretching legs away from your body. Repeat on the other side.

Mermaid Pose sounds cute, and you’ll look like Ariel posing on a rock, but it’s no day at the beach. This pose requires a lot of coordination and flexibility that you will feel as it opens your hips, chest, and shoulders.

How it’s done: Start in Downward Dog. Then, move your right knee behind your right wrist and right heel toward left hip. Walk your left foot behind you. You’ll now be in Pigeon Pose.

Twist your body to the left and try to grab the top of your left foot and move it down into the crook of your elbow. To complete the movement, lift right hand up and behind you and hold your left hand.

An especially challenging yoga pose for anyone with poor balance, Dancer Pose requires great balance skills and flexibility. It’ll open your chest, shoulders, and hips while strengthening your legs.

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How it’s done: From a standing position, transfer your weight to your right foot, then raise left foot behind you and hold it with left hand. While holding the top of your left foot, lift it backward and toward the sky. Repeat on the other side.

Is this the most difficult yoga move? The jury’s out, but it’s one of the hardest yoga poses fo’ sho. You’re gonna need extreme flexibility in your hips, plus balance and strength. Also, because yoga moves like this one require strong mental focus and mindfulness, they may help diffuse anxiety and stress.

How it’s done: Start in a one-arm plank with both feet on the mat. Place the lower leg behind your head. Next, lift the free arm and your face toward the sky from this position.

Some folks also start by placing the leg behind their head first (sounds *way* easier 🤔) and rolling into a side plank.

Is it break dancing or is it yoga? One-Handed Tree Pose isn’t too sure. It’s one of the most difficult yoga poses and requires superhero-level balance and strength. Oh, and it’s inverted!

How it’s done: Start in a handstand (yes, you start in a hard pose). Then spread those legs and slowly lift one of your hands off the mat. You need to balance with your legs, and your wrists and elbows provide stability.

You can also start this pose leaning against a wall.

There you have it — 15 of the hardest yoga poses. But don’t be discouraged if they seem out of reach (literally)! With regular practice, you’ll slowly build up your strength and flexibility, and before long, you may be able to nail these like a pro.

Remember that yoga should be a challenging but enjoyable experience, not a competition. So always go at your own pace, focus on your breath, and listen to your body.

Don’t forget to warm up, and never try to force your way into a pose that doesn’t feel right. If you’re feeling any pain, back off and try something else. You don’t want to injure yourself.

Above all else, have fun and enjoy the journey!


What is the most difficult yoga asana? ›

Handstand is considered the most difficult yoga asana, among others, and splitting legs makes the pose more challenging.

What is the king of all yoga poses? ›

The yoga headstand is nicknamed "king" of all the asanas. A variety of other asanas can be used to build the required upper body strength and balance. Shirshasana, alongside Sarvangasana and Padmasana, is one of the asanas most often reported as the cause of an injury.

What is hot 26 yoga? ›

Hot26 is a system of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises that are performed in a specific sequence and order to flush out every system of the body while creating strength, flexibility, focus, and endurance.

What is the most difficult Bikram pose? ›

Camel Pose

Camel Pose, or Ustrasana, is the final ultra-deep backbend of a Bikram class. This is the only posture that bends the entire spine and neck into a full arch as the hips push forward and up. Keep in mind that Camel Pose can be extremely challenging and even dangerous for anyone with spinal injuries.

What is the most famous yoga pose? ›

Downward facing dog is probably the most popular yoga move in many yoga classes around the country. The pose helps strengthen the shoulder and upper back muscles as well as stretch the calves and hamstrings.

Which is the fastest yoga? ›

Vinyasa Yoga

In most classes, you won't linger long in each pose and the pace can be quick, so be prepared for your heart rate to rise. Teachers will often pump music, matching the beats to the sequences of the poses. Best for: HIIT lovers. Intense exercisers might enjoy Vinyasa because of its faster pace.

Which is the queen of all asanas? ›

The Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) is revered for its many physiological benefits.

Which is the queen of yoga? ›

The name of the pose that is called the queen of yoga is sarvangasana. With this type of poses, many people have taken their fitness to the best level. With the name, it tells that sarvangasana yoga influences the functioning of all the body parts. The pose is beneficial in maintaining the mental and physical health.

What is the mother of all yoga? ›

Hatha Yoga is a style of Yoga. It is said to be the Mother of all Yoga Practices.

What is Monster hot yoga? ›

Sweat Level

Monster Hot follows a 90-minute, 26-posture fixed sequence so you can track your progress with every session. The carefully thought out sequence focuses on balancing postures, lower body strengthening, and bending of the spine in a heated room. Fun fact: this class has no weight bearing poses on the wrists!

What is super hot yoga called? ›

Bikram Yoga is a system of hot yoga, a type of yoga as exercise, devised by Bikram Choudhury and based on the teachings of B. C. Ghosh, that became popular in the early 1970s.

Has anyone lost weight with hot yoga? ›

And hot yoga is a pretty good calorie-torcher. Even though you're not running and jumping around, again, that hot room gets the heart going. One study from the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found women burned an average of 333 calories during 90-minute slow-moving, heated yoga session.

Which is harder vinyasa or Bikram? ›

Overall Comparison. Side-by-side, a skilled vinyasa practitioner will be stronger than one who practices Bikram or hot yoga. Vinyasa yogins will also be more aerobically fit. However, if your goal is to increase your tolerance to heat and work with thermoregulation, Bikram might be your choice.

Which is harder Bikram or Ashtanga? ›

Ashtanga enjoys the reputation as the toughest physical yoga practice, and Bikram, a patented hot yoga style, as the most superficial.

Is savasana the hardest pose? ›

Although it looks easy, Savasana (Corpse Pose) has been called the most difficult of the asanas. Indeed, many yoga students who can happily balance, bend, and twist through the rest of class struggle with just lying on the floor. The reason is that the art of relaxation is harder than it looks.

What is the warrior one yoga pose? ›

Warrior one pose is the first of three related powerful standing postures that improve strength and flexibility. In this pose, the legs are placed in a lunge position with the back foot turned at a 45-60 degree angle and the front leg bent at a 90 degree angle so the knee is stacked over the ankle.

What is the perfect pose? ›

Perfect pose is a basic seated yoga posture that is often used during meditation and the practice of pranayama breathing exercises. It is also known as accomplished pose and adept pose, and by its Sanskrit name, siddhasana.

Which yoga is known as a Warrior Pose? ›

Virabhadrasana (Sanskrit: वीरभद्रासन; IAST: Vīrabhadrāsana) or Warrior Pose is a group of related lunging standing asanas in modern yoga as exercise commemorating the exploits of a mythical warrior, Virabhadra.

What is the most calming yoga? ›

7 Calming Yoga Poses For Stress Relief
  1. Standing forward bend.
  2. Cat-Cow Pose.
  3. Easy Pose.
  4. Head to knee forward bend.
  5. Bridge pose.
  6. Corpse pose.
  7. Childs pose.

Who is the king of yoga in the world? ›

Raja Yoga is the king of Yogas. It is concerned directly with the mind.

How many yoga poses exist? ›

The traditional number of asanas is the symbolic 84, but different texts identify different selections, sometimes listing their names without describing them.

Who is the father of yoga? ›

Patanjali is known as the father of modern yoga. In some parts of India, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya is also considered as the father of modern yoga.

Who is the oldest yoga? ›

She discovered yoga in 1926 when she was eight years old in India and studied with, among others, Sri Aurobindo, B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, Swami Prabhavananda, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Tao Porchon-Lynch
Known forOldest yoga teacher
SpouseBill Lynch ​ ​ ( m. 1962; died 1982)​
5 more rows

What do you call a female yoga instructor? ›

Yogi is technically male, and yoginī is the term used for female practitioners. The two terms are still used with those meanings today, but the word yogi is also used generically to refer to both male and female practitioners of yoga and related meditative practices belonging to any religion or spiritual method.

What is the most challenging yoga also called yoga of knowledge? ›

Jnana yoga

Meaning: Wisdom or knowledge. This is the yoga of 'knowing', of realising the truth of oneself. First mentioned around 400BC, this is thought of as one of the most direct paths to insight and illumination, but also as one of the most difficult.

Which is the easiest yoga asana? ›

Basic yoga poses
  • Downward-Facing Dog. ...
  • Warrior II. Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana II. ...
  • Triangle Pose. Sanskrit: Trikonasana. ...
  • Tree Pose. Sanskrit: Vrksasana. ...
  • Bridge Pose. Sanskrit: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. ...
  • Bound Ankle Pose. Sanskrit: Baddha Konasana. ...
  • Seated Forward Fold. Sanskrit: Paschimottanasana. ...
  • Corpse Pose. Sanskrit: Savasana.
Jul 31, 2019

Why is Chakrasana difficult? ›

Wheel pose belongs to the backward bending yoga asana series and is one of the most challenging backbends as it is also a semi-inversion where the head is below the level of the heart, making it difficult to coordinate the body in the upside-down position of the head.

Which asana is the easiest to perform? ›

Balasana (Child Pose)

One of the easiest and most basic yoga asanas is the Balasana. As it is mostly a relaxing pose, it helps with relaxation of your back and stimulates the internal organs as well. You can also perform this easy yoga asana if you feel tired or dizzy while practicing other yoga asanas.


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