Advanced Yoga Poses | Pictures | POPSUGAR Fitness

Yoga Poses advanced

Poses / September 11, 2017

Even if you can't bend yourself into a pretzel or defy gravity with masterful inversions (yet), admiring the craziest yoga poses on Instagram can be totally mesmerizing—not to mention, inspiring. After all, the most jaw-dropping poses around involve more than just flexibility, balance, and strength. They require confidence, trust, and practice, practice, practice.

Whether you're just mastering the art of Savasana or you're trying to take your Vinyasa flow to the next level, these 17 poses from some of the most impressive yogis on Instagram pretty much demand to be ogled over. Claire Ewing, instructor and studio marketing manager at CorePower Yoga, breaks them down—and if you're ready for it, shares how to work toward mastering some of them yourself. (A quick disclaimer: This is obvious just from looking at them, but all of these are advanced yoga poses. If you want to try them, know your limits, start slowly, and enlist a trained yoga instructor for help you with the progressions. Never force your body into a position that causes pain.)

1. Standing Splits Against a Wall

This pose requires seriously flexible hamstrings (back of thighs) and glutes (butt muscles), says Ewing. (If you're tight in those areas, try foam rolling first.) Opening your arms to the side also means the the lower part of your core needs to work harder to keep you stable.

2. Killer Praying Mantis

This super-bendy pose requires major flexibility. "The body is being opened in two different directions—a strong opening through the inner thighs and hip flexors, and then a big opening through the back quad, " says Ewing. The key? Don't forget to breathe.

4. Split-Leg Handstand

"Inversions, which are postures with your head below your heart, require extreme balance and focus, " says Ewing. When you're extending your legs in opposite directions like yogi Jessamyn Stanley, find a focal point to help you balance them out (think of it like a seesaw, she says).