Eye-Catching Yoga in Extreme Places
While yoga is all about finding your zen, it can get extreme when you’re holding tree pose at the edge of a cliff, thousands of feet in the air. Yoga can be done pretty much anywhere and if you have the guts—and a great photographer—some stunning photos can capture your moment of guts, glory and zen. In honor of National Yoga Month, we’ve rounded up just a few of the plethora of photos out there capturing yoga in extreme places.
Here, extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken and student Moses Wepukhuli perform their daredevil balancing act in Geiranger, Norway.
Eskil Ronningsbakken from the previous slide holds the handstand position on the rail of a lookout platform in Trollstigen, Norway.
Camel in the Pond
For any person who’s done the camel pose, or ustrasana, you know how nice an extra blanket is, even on top of your mat, to pad the knees and shins. There’s no yoga mat here to cushion this yogi’s knees while holding the pose, which we think makes it a little more extreme (besides the fact that she could topple over into the pond at any moment!).
Warrior (III) of the Mountain
Wow. This brave yogi is holding a variation of the warrior III pose, or virabhadrasana III. Usually, the arms are held in front of you with hands touching, but we don’t blame her for holding her arms out to the side for a little extra balancing weight.
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A Tree Amidst Pyramids in the Desert
The tree pose, or vrksasana, is a reminder of how difficult it can be to balance on one leg. While this yogi brought her hands together, tree pose can also feature your arms raised to the air and spread apart, like the branches of a tree.
A Lotus Rising in the Water
As easy as it may look, lotus pose or padmasana is considered an ultimate yoga pose that requires open hips and consistent practice. We can’t even imagine how this yogi got into this position without having to hold her breath!
A Bow in the Mountains
One of my favorite—and most challenging—poses, this yogi looks to be doing a variation of the bow pose, or dhanurasana, with the gorgeous landscape of snow-covered mountains in the backdrop. Traditionally, the torso and legs represent the body of the bow, and the arms the string, but here, it looks more like the shins represent the string, while the body is the bow.
Cow Face Pose or Gomukhasana
Doing this pose on the flat ground is hard enough as it is. We’re betting the rhythm of the waterfall helped this yoga tune out and focus on the stretch.
Why it’s called cow face pose: From the front, legs are crossed to form the shape of lips while the arms represent a cow’s ears – one up and one flopped down.
Snakes in the Sand
Cobra pose, or bhujangasana, promotes flexibility in the spine and opens your chest up. With the ocean in front of you and the wet sandy earth between your fingers and toes, we can think of a more idyllic place for this pose.
Lotus in the Snow
Brrrr! We’re getting the chills just looking at this photo. This yogi takes the lotus pose (pictured in slide 7) to the snow. Opening up the hips has to be more difficult in the cold, don’t you think?
Yoga in the City
While these yogis aren’t in an extreme natural environment, we’d consider yoga in the middle of Times Square in New York City to be pretty extreme. Here, a sea of yoga practitioners hold a sideways crescent moon or standing lean in celebration of the first day of summer. The gathering was hosted by Athleta.
Pigeon in the Mountains
High up on a rock with blurry green trees in the background, this yogi is holding a variation on the one-legged king pigeon pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. For beginners, the one leg would extend straight back behind them with the top of the foot on the floor and hands at the sides, fingers touching the floor. This yogi takes the stretch even further.
Standing Bow Pose, Dandayamana Dhanurasana
For those who have done the standing bow pose, you know that the goal is to stretch your body in both directions and pull your arm tight, just like the string of a bow. If you push yourself, you can lose your grip on your ankle and you spring forward like an arrow, which is why this pose on a tree stump seems extreme to us! That, and the beautiful backdrop makes this yoga in an extreme place.