Sometimes it’s good to shake up your regular yoga routine so that you feel more challenged. Your sessions should never become predictable!
What are signs you’re in a yoga rut? You might lack motivation, feel like you’re not being stimulated enough, or just feel fatigued because you’re bored.
To nip those symptoms in the bud, let’s explore some of the best yoga challenges that will test your limits. These will also help you develop greater strength, flexibility, and confidence.
Why You Should Do A Yoga Challenge
There are many good reasons why you should shake up your regular yoga sessions with a yoga challenge. Here are some to consider.
- A yoga challenge helps you achieve your goals. A challenge ensures you stay accountable for achieving your goals, no matter what’s happening in your life.
- A yoga challenge boosts your self-confidence. It takes you out of your comfort zone so you can boost your self-confidence and increase your strength. It can help you to see what’s possible!
- A yoga challenge is fun. Instead of taking yourself too seriously, a yoga challenge helps you to enjoy yourself as you try something new. This is also invigorating.
- A yoga challenge makes yoga fun again. If you’re stuck in a bit of a yoga rut, a yoga challenge can help you to feel energized to get back on your yoga mat.
Yoga Challenges To Test Your Limits
The 60-Second Pose Challenge
If you’ve been practicing yoga for some time, you’ll probably have some poses that you consider to be easy to achieve. You can make them more physically demanding by trying to hold them for 60 seconds.
In this yoga challenge, here are the poses to hold for a minute. You’ll see that they test your strength, flexibility, and balance.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
This deceptively simple yoga pose looks easy, but getting into a squat position and lowering your body to the floor will make your muscles burn.
Once you reach that part of the pose, you will have to bring your arms out and up for greater balance.
Not only is this a yoga pose that you’ll feel in your body’s lower muscles, but doing the Chair Pose for 60 seconds will also test your balance.
How to do the Chair Pose:
- Stand with your back straight and your feet about hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides.
- Inhale as you lift your arms so that they’re at ear height.
- Stretch your arms out straight, keep your shoulders down, and put your spine in a neutral position.
- Exhale and bend your knees. Make sure you keep your knees and thighs parallel.
- Now, lean your torso forward as if you’re getting into a chair.
- Hold the pose for 60 seconds (usually, this pose is held for between 30-60 seconds).
Warrior Pose 3 (Virabhadrasana III)
This is a Warrior Pose that might be difficult to hold for 60 seconds as it requires you to have strong muscles and balance.
You will have to stand on one leg and straighten your other leg and torso so that you enter a “T”-shaped position.
What makes it difficult to achieve is that you have to keep your arms out in front of you, which will really test how well you can ground your body while balancing.
How to do the pose:
- Start in the Mountain Pose, then enter into the Warrior 1 pose.
- Press your right heel into the ground so that you can lift your lower abdomen.
- Pull in your abdominal muscles and lower your tailbone.
- Straighten your left leg and turn your inner left thigh toward the ceiling.
- Roll your left hip forward, then move back onto your back toes so your back leg is in a neutral position.
- Inhale so you lengthen your spine, then exhale and bend your torso forward. Be sure to extend your arms in front of you.
- Move your body onto your front foot and move forward, while simultaneously lifting your left leg so it’s parallel to the floor.
- You should place your upper arms along with your ears.
- Keep your head, pelvis, torso, and raised leg extended so that your body starts to produce a straight line.
- Turn your inner left thigh to the ceiling.
- Engage your right outer hip. This will give your standing leg greater stability.
- Move back with your left heel, while simultaneously extending your arms forward. Move your head and sternum forward too.
- Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths, or try to hold it for 60 seconds to give yourself a greater physical challenge.
30-Day Yoga Challenge
There are many yoga challenges that you can do over a period of time, such as 30 days. This challenge makes you commit to a yoga plan for a whole month, so it’s a great one to try if you want to start practicing yoga regularly.
This yoga challenge contains different yoga poses, with one pose being done every single day. Over time, this will help you to build strength and greater flexibility.
If it’s too difficult for you to complete a new pose every day, consider doing fewer challenges in the month.
Four Of The Most Challenging Poses To Add To Your 30-Day Challenge
While holding poses for 60 seconds can make them more difficult, you can also intensify your yoga sessions by trying some advanced poses.
Firefly Pose (Tittibasana)
This popular yoga pose works your arms, abdominals, and legs, and you require enough strength to hold your legs up and use your arms to support yourself on the floor.
- Put your feet 18 inches apart.
- Move into a forward bend. Keep your knees a bit bent.
- Move your shoulders as far underneath your knees as you can.
- Put your palms flat on the yoga mat behind your feet.
- Bend your elbows without bringing your upper arms completely parallel to the floor.
- Shift your weight back so you rest on your upper arms. As you do this, the movement should make your feet lift up off the floor.
- Keep your arms straight and straighten your legs.
- Hold your upper arms with your thighs and flex your feet.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
- Sit on your yoga mat with your knees bent. Keep your feet on the mat.
- Put your hands behind your knees.
- Lift your chest and engage your back muscles.
- Engage your inner thighs.
- Draw in your lower abdomen and move it up.
- Sit on the back of your sitting bones and raise your feet, keeping your toes spread out. You want to raise your feet so that they’re about knee height.
- Let your arms parallel to your yoga mat and straighten your legs.
- Hold this pose for about two to five breaths – for a real challenge, try to maintain this pose for 10 breaths.
While you might remember the ease with which you performed handstands when you were a kid, doing it in your yoga session can make it more difficult. You require strength to get into the pose and maintain your balance so you don’t fall to the ground.
Note that before you can attempt a yoga handstand, you should ensure you’ve mastered some important poses that will help you achieve your goal.
These include the Downward-Facing Dog, Standing Forward Fold, the Boat Pose, and the L-Shape Headstand.
The latter requires you to use the wall as support for your legs while you do a headstand, so it’s great practice for doing a full headstand.
Here’s how to do the yoga headstand:
- Start in Downward-Facing Dog.
- Lift your body onto your toes and walk forward as close to your palms as you can.
- Stack your hips over your shoulders.
- Then, press your hands into the floor so you stabilize your muscles and engage your shoulders.
- Keep your arms straight, with your shoulders over your wrists.
- Grip your yoga mat with all your fingers so you distribute your weight evenly through your hands. This prevents your wrists from getting sore.
- *Raise one leg, while activating your hamstring and glute in that leg.
- Look down at your hands as you focus on maintaining the length of your spine.
- Bend your lower knee so you can kick your leg up to the ceiling, keeping it extended straight.
- Tighten your inner thighs. This will also prompt your body to tighten your core.
Eight-Angle Pose (Astavakrasana)
This yoga pose includes using your hands on the floor to support your body so you can move your legs to the side of it.
- Start in a cross-legged pose.
- Hug your right thigh into your chest.
- Extend your left leg in front of you.
- Lift and straighten your spine, while engaging your core.
- Move your right arm underneath your right knee. You want your right knee to be as high as possible.
- Put both palms on the yoga mat.
- Extend your left leg.
- Use your palms to raise your body from the mat. You should also lift your left leg and foot.
- Bend your left leg and bring your right foot to your body. You want to hook your left ankle around your right one.
- Bend your arms to move the weight of your torso forward.
- Simultaneously, move your legs over to the right of your body.
- Straighten your legs as much as you can.
- Lift your head a bit and move your hips back while you move your chest forward.
What Are Some Great Online Yoga Challenges?
If you don’t want to customize your own yoga challenge, there are some great ones online that have been prepared for you and are ready to go! Here are two that are worth it.
Yoga With Adriene
You can find yoga challenges online, such as on YouTube, that aim to help you progress in your yoga journey and test your limits.
Yoga with Adriene is hosted by Adrien Mishler, a yoga teacher who has more than 5 million YouTube subscribers. She offers 30-day yoga challenges you can try, with videos to guide you with your yoga challenges every day.
By doing one of these challenges, you’ll gain guidance to help you step out of your comfort zone while challenging yourself more.
Do Yoga With Me
This website provides a range of yoga classes you can do every day. There’s something for every yoga enthusiast.
Some of the best classes to test your limits include the “7-Day Inversion Yoga Challenge with Rachel Scott” and the “7-Day Intermediate/Advanced Vinyasa Yoga Challenge.”
While these are yoga challenges that you have to pay for, they’re worth spoiling yourself with.
You can also find some free challenges to enjoy. The challenges will help you feel stronger, more flexible, and stay committed to your yoga journey.
How To Prepare Yourself For A Yoga Challenge
Some yoga challenges can be quite intense, so it helps to prep for them. Here’s how.
Don’t get too caught up in the word “challenge”
Hearing the word “challenge” implies that you’ll have to put in lots of hard work to achieve it, which can make you feel anxious or overwhelmed.
Instead of feeling worried about the physical aspect of the challenge, you should approach the challenge from a place of love.
Think about doing the challenge so that you can reconnect with yourself or give yourself permission to try something different. Focus on the deeper goal that will make the challenge worth it.
Focus on your body
Be aware of your physical sensations. You shouldn’t ignore your body and force yourself to complete the yoga challenge.
If it doesn’t feel right, such as if you’re overexerting yourself too much to achieve the pose, you should stop. No challenge is worth it if you end up fatigued, stressed, or injured.
Find ways to stay motivated
If you’re doing a seven- or 30-day challenge, it’s not always easy to stay motivated to complete it. This is why it can be helpful to find ways to stay motivated.
A great idea is to keep a calendar on which you write how the daily challenges make you feel, such as “joyful”, “blessed,” or “feeling good to persevere.”
Reading these words or sentences when you need a bit of inspiration will help you get back on your yoga mat.
How To Go From Beginner To Advanced Yoga
If you’ve been a yoga beginner for a while, you might wonder how long it will take you to progress to the advanced level. Here are some things to focus on so that you can build strength and avoid getting into a yoga rut.
- Stick to your schedule. It helps to stay consistent in your yoga practice. It’s not always easy to fit in daily yoga sessions, but even 10 or 15 minutes is enough to keep you working hard on building flexibility, stability, and feelings of wellbeing.
- Do a challenge now and then. It doesn’t even have to be a big challenge, like one spanning 30 days. It can be a challenge you set for yourself, such as achieving one advanced yoga pose every fortnight or month. This will keep you growing.
- Be patient! You must be patient with yourself during your yoga journey. That’s the thing to remember: it’s a journey that you should enjoy moving through. Everyone proceeds to a higher level of practice at their own time, so don’t be hard on yourself.
What’s a tough yoga pose?
Difficult yoga poses include the Tripod Headstand with Lotus Legs Pose (Sirsasana li Padmasana) which requires you to do a handstand and cross your legs in the air.
Also, we have the Yoga Sleeping Pose (Yoganidrasana) which requires flexibility for you to rest the back of your head on your legs and feet.
What’s an intense style of yoga?
Ashtanga yoga sometimes referred to as power yoga, is vigorous and intense because it involves continuous movement. This type of yoga produces heat in the body that eliminates toxins.
If you want to shake up your regular yoga session and master some advanced yoga poses, this is a great way to test your strength.
In this article, we’ve featured some of the best yoga challenges to try, and we’ve included some online challenges to subscribe to so that you step out of your yoga comfort zone.