Yoga Practice

5 Yoga Poses We Have to Admit Are Pretty Crazy

Let’s face it, a lot of what we do with our bodies on the mat looks a bit ridiculous. It’s healthy to take a step back from time to time, lighten the mood, and note the absurdity of it all.

kino macgreggor advanced yoga pose

While yoga can be quite the serious spiritual endeavor (the quest for self-realization being nothing to scoff at), there’s no denying the fact that a lot of what we do with our bodies on the mat looks a bit ridiculous—especially to those on the outside looking in. Imagine never having done yoga and then seeing a room full of Happy Baby Poses…. Pretty absurd, right?!

Every now and then, I highly suggest taking a few steps back. One of the pitfalls of being a yogi is that we’re constantly surrounded by (and, dare I say, comparing ourselves to) other yogis. All of a sudden, being able to do freakish things, like wrap your legs around your head, seems normal. It’s not. The majority of folks would love to be able to touch their toes, let alone hang out in the splits, and admire you for even having the courage to step onto the mat. Allow that realization to sink in.

Then stop taking your practice so seriously! Believe me, I know how easy it is to become frustrated and quick to judge yourself on the mat. I’m constantly telling my students to tell themselves “something nice” and reminding them that no one is a better, happier person because they can stand on their hands. That’s what yoga’s about after all; becoming a clearer, more compassionate, connected human being.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going after advanced poses; it creates tapas (heat), inspires commitment, and generates transformation. However, developing tunnel vision on those endeavors usually results in missing the bigger picture. The world at large couldn’t care less whether or not you can touch your toes to your head. Yoga practice is about so much more than the poses themselves. When all else fails, though, it’s healthy to take a step back and laugh at the absurdity of it all. Here are a few especially ridiculous poses, perfect for lightening the mood.

5 Crazy Yoga Poses (Laughing Encouraged)

Super Soldier Pose

super soldier pose

What the what?! Forward fold, lift a leg, bend a knee, reach under and grab a foot where? Even the most flexible yogis can’t figure out how to get into this innovative pose.

Super Soldier is one of those poses that seemed to appear with the whole Instagram yoga craze—and it’s as complicated as it looks. Aside from requiring incredibly open hamstrings, thighs, shoulders and side bodies, this pose asks you to balance on one foot while hanging upside down and grabbing the other foot above your butt. For most, the pose never feels as graceful as it sometimes looks on social media.

If you want to try it…

There really is no major benefit to be gained from Super Soldier—aside from freaking your friends out. But if you’re interested in figuring it out, spend time warming up with Standing Splits, thigh stretches, and shoulder openers, as well as binds. Then grab a yoga friend or teacher (preferably someone you can laugh with) to walk you through the steps in person.

See also Rodney Yee’s Top 10 Yoga Poses to Practice Daily

Knee-to-Ear Pose

Knee-to-Ear Pose, Karnapidasana

Karnapidasana

This awkward inversion is an evolution from Halasana (Plow Pose), deepening the stretch along the spine. While doing Karnapidasana can be quite calming, the pose itself—with your bottom up in the air and knees boxed around your ears—looks a bit strange and can feel totally awkward. Aside from having your sitting bones pointed directly skyward for all of the world to see, having your ears boxed in by your knees and chin locked into chest can feel slightly claustrophobic. However, if you can breathe into the pose, it’s an incredible stretch for the entire back and strangely kind of fun.

If you want to try it…

Full Karnapidasana requires a decent amount of shoulder, hip, back, and hamstring flexibility. For some, Child’s Pose is a great place to start, opening the hips, rounding the spine and bringing the crown of the head down, while others will need more seated forward folds to open the hamstrings. Next practice getting your shoulder blades on your upper back in Bridge Pose to prepare for Shoulderstand and Plow Pose, both of which should be learned under the guidance of a teacher.

Once you’re comfortable in Plow Pose you can begin to slowly lower your knees to the floor alongside your ears. If your knees don’t come all the way down to the floor, keep your hands on your low back for support. Only extend the arms when the tops of your feet and knees are both on the floor.

See also Baptiste Yoga: 5 Poses to Access the Power of Imperfection

Embryo Pose

Embryo Pose Garbha Pindasana

Garbha Pindasana

Welcome to Garbha Pindasana, my go-to pose for goofy group yoga photos. The name means “embryo in the womb” (garbha = womb, pinda = embryo). But I’m always reminded of the first of the three wise monkeys, hear no evil (you know the emoji), and usually can’t restrain myself from making a funny face. Teachers, this is a great tension breaker when a class begins to take the pursuit of Lotus Pose a little too seriously.

If you want to try it…

Mostly dependent on your ability to do Lotus Pose, this silly variation follows the hand balance Kukkutasana (a ridiculous pose in and of itself), which requires sticking your arms through the tiny space behind each bent knee. If you’re able to do that, turn your palms up and begin to bend your elbows as you lean back to balance on your sitting bones. Final touch: Bend your elbows and figure out how to grab your ears.

If you want to have some fun in Garbha Pindasana but Lotus Pose isn’t available, simply cross at the shins in Sukhasana (Easy Pose) and lean back to balance on your sitting bones, lifting your knees up. Rather than grabbing your ear, reach your arms around your knees and potentially clasp hands.

See also Hone Your Intuition: 12 Poses to Activate Your Third-Eye Chakra

Yogi Staff Pose

kino, Yogi Staff Pose Yogadandasana

Yogadandasana

Yogadanda means “the staff of a yogi.” However, I think it looks more like a yogi kicking back and should be called “Chillaxasana.” Those of us with externally open hips can’t help but smirk a little as we lean back and strike this pose; and those not blessed with such hips have every right to chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all. It’s definitely a pose only a few can take seriously.

Generally speaking, there are a flexible few who can get their knee to the floor outside their hip and foot to the back of their upper arm to come into Yogadandasana. Fortunately, there are many stages, a few variations and other, more accessible prep poses for this advanced asana.

If you want to try it…

Please note: I first tried this pose in a two-hour hip-opening workshop, and it really should not to be attempted cold. Be sure to warm your hips up well. A sequence leading up to Yogadandasana should probably include a few Humble Warrior Poses, a series of Lizard Pose stretches, as well as a Pigeon Pose or two. If you really want to work on opening your external hip rotators for Yogadandasana, try working Half Happy Baby on your back. With the bottom of the lifted foot pointed at the ceiling, practice pulling the lifted knee down toward the floor alongside your outer ribs.

See also 11 Poses to Ignite Your Second Chakra and Spark Creativity

The Exorcist

kathrynbudig, exorcist

Dubbed “the Exorcist” by Kathryn Budig, this funky pose is a variation on Kala Bhairavasana (Pose Dedicated to Shiva the Destroyer) and a natural (albeit out-of-the-box) progression from Compass Pose. The end result, however, really does look like something out of a horror film.

If you happen to have the hip, hamstring and shoulder flexibility to get into Compass Pose, you then need to have the hamstring strength to keep your top leg straight without the use of your hands, while pressing up into a Reverse Tabletop position—oh, and the neck mobility to spin your head around 360 degrees with your tongue out.

If you want to try it…

For those dying to get into this pose, it’s important to both engage and open your hamstrings well with a skillful sequence including poses like Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose, Chair, and Bound Triangle. This pose requires equal parts (and exceptional amounts) of strength and flexibility—not to mention time and sense of humor.

See also #YJ40: 10 Poses Younger Than Yoga Journal

About Meagan McCrary

Meagan McCrary

Meagan McCrary is a 500 E-RYT and writer with a passion for helping people find more comfort, clarity, compassion, and joy on the mat and in life. She’s the author of Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga, an encyclopedia of modern yoga systems. You can find her teaching and retreat schedule, along with her latest offerings at MeaganMcCrary.com, as well as on Facebook Twitter and Instagram.