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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

The below 20 yoga poses are what I like to call – “intermediate”. While they’re definitely not a beginner pose, they’re also definitely not an advanced asana. These postures are for the yogis who’ve got a few weeks or months under their belt & want to learn more.

And while I understand that many of these yoga postures are taught from the get-go, it’s often times difficult to learn the subtleties of a posture when practicing in a packed yoga studio or confused/frustrated with your body.

……… emphasis on the confused/frustrated with your body, because we’ve all been there & will continue to go there! When this happens (which it will), remember that it’s a journey, never about the final shape, but always about the experiences that happen along the way. 

 

1. Plank

Plank pose is the perfect posture to learn straight from the get-go, as it’s the epitome of a yoga practice foundation. It helps us prepare for chaturanga dandasana, reverse plank, all inversions, arm balances, and a whole lot more.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

2. Low Plank

Or Chaturanga Dandasana.

Chaturanga, low pushup, or low plank, is a pivotal posture to understand, practice, and integrate into your daily yoga life. It’s part of the commonly practiced sun salutation, the sequence that’s infused into every vinyasa/power flow style class across the world.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

3. Puppy Pose

Or Uttana Shishosana.

Puppy pose is a mega chest and shoulder opener, if you can’t already tell by the photo below. From the outside, it’s easy to confuse this posture as looking/feeling effortless, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The average person lives their life with the shoulders hunched forward and the heart closed off. When asking our bodies to do the exact opposite, it can feel/be a tad overwhelming + vulnerable. And that’s perfectly okay.

I’d guess that 99% of yogis experience this, me included. Take this posture slow, incorporate a block under the head at first, and remember to breathe!

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

4. Lotus Pose

Or Padmasana.

Lotus pose is one of those iconic, see it everywhere, printed on t-shirts, looks super peaceful kinda poses. But for how popular the posture is, it’s quite the biotch to actually get into.

Padmasana requires open hips, flexible knee joints, and a strong back. If you attempt this and get nowhere near it, it’s all good.

That’s why we call it a journey…..

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

5. Twisted High Lunge

Or Parivrtta Anjaneyasana.

I loveeee this posture, there’s so much epicness (not a word, but needs to be) happening all at the same time.

Within this one posture, we’re feeling all of the below:

  • Extension.
  • Expansion.
  • Strength.
  • Surrender.
  • Release.

Told ya, it’s complex.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

6. Half Moon Pose

Or Ardha Chandrasana.

In this pose, we’re experiencing it all.

  • Balancing on one leg + one arm up in the sky.
  • Incredible strength + participation from both the standing and lifted legs.
  • Openness in the hips.
  • Confidence to integrate all of this into a shape & actually enjoy it.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into this baby.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

7. Revolved Half Moon

Or Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana.

As if half moon wasn’t enough, we then twist our body into a weird ass shape.

Yup, that’s yoga for ya.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

8. Warrior 3

Or Virabhadrasana III.

Warrior 3 asks us to practice extension + expansion + balance all at the same time. Like many of the poses above, it will require consistent patience and practice to embody the full expression.

And while we journey to this place, let’s practice enjoying the ride!

p.s. – Notice the the bend in my standing leg, definitely recommend this for tight hamstrings…. which is basically everyone! 

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

9.  Revolved Triangle

Or Parivrtta Trikonasana.

Revolved triangle requires a ridiculously rooted lower body that allows the upper body to revolve and open. It’d be impossible to experience the posture without a firm, rooted, and grounded being.

I recommend using a block here and moving incredibly slow to focus on the small, subtle adjustments that can be made.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

10. Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

Or Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. 

Just looking at the pic below, I can see challenge in my eyes – Don’t fall Allie, stand up straight, open through the heart, support the standing leg, open the front leg.

What does your face look like in this pose?

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

11. Dancer

Or Natarajasana. 

Dancer pose is like many others on this list, it requires strength and length.

Focus on stabilizing the bottom half of the pose through the standing leg, while lengthening the upper half of the pose through the hamstring, quadricep, back, and chest. There’s a lot that happens, but most importantly – remember to always focus on creating length, versus height.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

12. Side Plank

Or Vasisthasana. 

Side plank is a wonderful pose that builds strength, balance and integration. It’s also an epic core blaster + incredibly versatile to make easier or harder.

Let’s get into it!

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

13. Crow Pose

Or Bakasana. 

Most likely, crow pose is your first taste of flying. And oh man, it’s such an exhilarating experience.

If you’re a first timer, check out the below two articles to start your journey.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

14. Wild Thing

Or Camatkarasana. 

I absolutely adore this pose, it’s such a huge heart opener that instills confidence, beauty and possibility into my soul. Yup, I totally dig it.

I recommend coming into wild thing by either flipping your dog (from three-legged dog) or lifting up from janu sirsana. And if really wanting a challenge, take yourself into full wheel pose!

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

15. Camel Pose

Or Ustrasana.

Camel pose asks a lot of you, all at one time, and all within the same body. Let’s take a quick glance at what I mean:

  • Strength and length – a delicate balance of opposing qualities.
  • Face your fears, while continuing to breathe.
  • Activate three (of the seven) chakras – the solar plexus, heart, and throat chakras.
  • Drop your ego, move from a place of authenticity.

Now it’s your turn – open that heart and feel all the feels!

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

16. Bow Pose

Or Dhanurasana.

Bow pose can be a mysterious posture for many, but like dancer pose, it’s imperative to focus on the opposition. As you kick the feet into the hands, leverage the opposition to lift the heart and open through the front and back side body.

And if you’re feeling feisty, rock back and forth or possibly side to side.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

17. Wheel Pose

Or Urdhva Dhanurasana.

This posture doesn’t disappoint.

You will feel challenged, strengthened, energized, and literally cracked open!

Wheel pose is an intermediate/advanced posture, so please know that it’s a journey in itself to get here. If you’re currently on that journey, remember that anything in life worth pursuing takes all three of the below.

Consistent Practice + Patience + Integrity.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

18. Shoulderstand

Or Salamba Sarvangasana.

Shoulderstand is considered the queens of all asanas, next to the king of all asanas headstand. That’s a hefty title, so definitely don’t tarnish it.

…..just kidding.

Please – tarnish every single pose, mess up, fall down, get back up, fall some more, and then you’ll be halfway towards it.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

19. Plow Pose

Or Halasana.

Plow pose is one of my favorite postures to help decompress, cool down and simply feel good after a vigorous yoga practice. It’s typically practiced at the end a yoga practice, following the above posture – shoulderstand.

If the feet don’t touch down behind, no worries, hang out and enjoy the space you’re in!

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

 

20. Fish Pose

Or Matsyasana. 

And to end, our final posture is fish pose – a beautiful heart opener and strengthener.

This pose is generally practiced after plow pose and before finishing up a yoga practice (especially in the Ashtanga world of yoga). I recommend holding for 3 – 5 deep breaths and slowly lowering to the back.

Wrap up your practice with a gentle supine twist + a sweet, surrendering savasana.

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20 Yoga Poses to Advance Your Practice

And that’s a wrap yogis!

I’m crossing my fingers, holding my breath that you dig this post and the  30 Yoga Poses + 30 Days Journey. If you didn’t take the plunge yet, go for it, you got this! Until next time, xoxo.

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