When people talk about advanced yoga poses, you probably immediately think of those images you've seen of seemingly boneless people doing back-breaking, gravity-defying poses. However, you don't have to be a human pretzel to do the more "progressive" yoga poses. There are many categories and types of yoga positions that range from inversions and bending poses to seated and standing poses. Here are some examples.
Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana)
Basically, this pose involves doing a side split; your legs and thighs flat to the floor with your arms raised and stretched overhead and your back slightly curved. Like any other yoga pose, there are of course variations to this to help you slowly ease into the position. Those doing the Monkey Pose should be careful and know their stretch and flexibility limits to avoid the risk of pulling hamstring muscles.
Revolved Half Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)
The end position for this advanced standing pose involves having your left palm and right foot flat on the floor, your left leg raised so your legs are at a 90-degree angle, torso turned to the right, and your right arm raised towards the ceiling perpendicular to the floor. The Revolved Half Moon is considered as an advanced standing pose because it combines bend, twist, and balance.
Little Thunderbolt Pose (Laghu Vajrasana)
To do this advanced backbend pose, go down on your knees keeping your torso upright, then slowly bend backwards. Grip your thighs with your hands to keep your balance and help you slowly ease into the backbend position, lowering your head further back until the crown reaches the ground. More advanced yogis able to do this position with the crown of their heads touching the area between their feet.
Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana)
The Forearm Stand is an inversion pose that requires an incredible sense of balance and upper body strength. This is because all your weight will fall on, and be supported by, your arms, as the rest of your body is raised off the floor and held upright in an inverted position. All yogis initially do this pose against the wall, to help with keeping the legs balanced as they're held upright in mid-air. As you progress and get more used to doing the Forearm Stand, you can try doing it in the middle of the room, without wall support.
Firefly Pose (Tittibhasana)
The Firefly Pose is another advanced yoga pose that requires balance and strength in your arm muscles. To do the Firefly Pose, start by doing a squat with your legs wide apart. Place your palms flat on the mat and a few inches apart, between where your feet are. From that position, slowly lift your legs and feet off the ground, engaging your arm muscles and using your wrists and palms for support, and straighten your legs. From this position, the back of your knees should be resting just a couple inches above your slightly bent elbows. Once you get into a balanced, more comfortable state, you can try straightening your arms – lifting your torso higher while keeping your back curved.