Challenge Your Practice With These 5 Pose Variations

Some days you might just need to give a little extra to the traditional poses, and at How to Practice Yoga, we're all about showing you how to take your practice to the next level.

These five variations will work your muscles, challenge the depth of your breath, and test your perseverance.

Tip toe ta tadasana

First off, let’s address the white elephant. Mountain Pose (or upwards hands pose), isn’t easy. There’s a ton to think about as it is: are your feet rooted, legs and butt engaged? Is your belly drawing in, chest open? Are your fingers active? Is the crown of your head reaching up with your arms? Are you lengthening through the back? It’s a lot.

But if you did want to add on, rather than rooting through the soles of your feet, come on to your tippie toes. This variation forces you to engage your calves, legs, and butt more than the traditional version and tests your balance and concentration. Falling out is part of the process.

Plank on the tops of your feet

If you can hold plank pose easily for longer than 10 breaths, this is for you. Rather than staying on your toes, come to the tops of your feet. Engage your legs and butt to lift your hips in line with your shoulders, and then energetically pull your feet towards your wrists and your wrists towards your feet.

In addition to working your entire core, this variation strengthens your hamstrings and glutes.

PS. It’s okay to let your body tremble—that means you're getting stronger!

Bow pose variation

Not for the faint of heart, this pose variation requires tons of core, trapezius, hamstring, inner thighs, and glute strength.

From prone, bend your heels towards your butt. Reach your arms back behind you like you were going to take a traditional bow pose, but instead of grabbing for your feet, just lift your chest. With your chest lifted, engage your hamstrings and glutes and try to lift your thighs off the mat.