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Yoga Poses

6 Perspective-Shifting Peak Poses for the New Year

Start the year off strong by taking on Yoga Journal's top challenge poses of 2014.

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Start the year off strong by taking on Yoga Journal’s top challenge poses of 2014.

Go back to 2014 Top Yoga Moments

1. Handstand

Alexandria Crow Handstand/Adho MUkha Vrksasana

Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Inversions are challenging and, yes, a little scary, but Alexandria Crow has a sequence that will help you stick Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)—almost every time.

TRY IT 7 Steps to Defy Gravity and Master Handstand

2. Bird of Paradise

yogapediabirdofparadisemainhub

Svarga Dvijasana

Bird of Paradise (Svarga Dvijasana) is a challenging standing balance that incorporates hip opening, core and back strengthening, hamstring lengthening, and expanding into infinite possibility. Claire Missingham can help you get there.

TRY IT Bird of Paradise: 5 Steps ot Master this Standing Pose

3. One-Footed Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I

Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I

Eka Pada Koundinyanasana I

Natasha Rizopolous shows you how to find length, stay centered, and lift step-by-step into the One-Footed Pose dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I (Eka Pada Koundinyasana I)—a demanding arm balance that helps you build a strong core, shoulders, and legs.

TRY IT Challenge Pose: 5 Steps to Move Into Eka Pada Koundinyasana I

4. Balance Pose Dedicated to Kasyapa

kasyapasana

Kasyapasana

While all arm balances require core and shoulder strength, this balance pose dedicated to Kasyapa (Kasyapasana), also requires shoulder and hip flexibility. In fact, the hardest part of Kasyapasana isn’t building strong abs and arms, but rather getting enough motion in your shoulders and hips to hold your foot while firing all the muscles that keep you afloat in the pose. Jason Crandall shows you how.

TRY IT Master Class: 5 Steps to Kasyapasana

5. Jump Through

Kino MacGregor Jump Through Video

Learn this hallmark of a traditional Ashtanga practice with Kino MacGregor. The good news: Jumping through is much easier than jumping back for new students to master! And once you begin to feel steady progress, you will feel a dramatic shift in the strength and endurance of your entire practice.

TRY IT Kino MacGregor’s Challenge Pose: Jump Through

6. Firefly Pose

Firefly Pose

Tittibhasana

Follow Kathryn Budig’s fool-proof plan for getting into Firefly Pose (Tittibhasana)—an impressive arm balance that deepens hamstring and hip flexibility, opens the chest, and helps you find new strength and perspective.

TRY IT Challenge Pose: 4 Steps to Lift Into Firefly