7 Intermediate Yoga Poses to Take Your Practice to the Next Level

Tree pose is an intermediate balancing pose, but you can tailor it to fit what feels good for you.
Image Credit: Natalia Tabilo/LIVESTRONG.com

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge progresses from foundational poses to more complex asanas with variations and modifications for every body. Get all the details on the challenge here.

Once you feel comfortable with child's pose and corpse pose (that deceptively simple-looking asana that calls for full-body awareness while quieting your mind), you might be wondering what's next on your yoga journey.

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Below are seven slightly more advanced yoga poses from Natalia Tabilo, yoga teacher, creator of Yoga for All Bodies and host of our 30-Day Yoga Challenge, that require strength, balance and mobility but are also completely customizable.

Tabilo offers a variety of modifications and variations for each pose in the videos below to help you find exactly what works for your body. But you can also play around with positioning and props to find your perfect pose.

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If you're following along with the 30-Day Yoga Challenge, aim to hold each pose for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing in and out through your nose, at least twice a day. But you can do any of these yoga poses as part of a regular practice or on their own whenever you'd like.

1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Lift all 10 toes off the ground, spread them wide, then set them back down.
  3. Engage your quads and draw your bellybutton in.
  4. Lift your breastbone while softening your lower ribs.
  5. Externally rotate your arms so your palms face forward and let your arms hang by your sides.
  6. Roll your shoulders down your back.
  7. Tuck your chin in slightly and lift the crown of your head up.

Variations

You have the option to keep your feet together or spread them hip-width apart.

2. Forward Fold and Half Lift (Uttanasana and Ardha Uttanasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides.
  2. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips and let your head and arms hang gently.
  3. Press your palms on the ground or bend your elbows and cradle them in the opposite hands.
  4. Leave a slight bend in your knees rather than locking them.
  5. Inhale as you walk your hands up to your shins or thighs. Lengthen your spine and lift your torso parallel to the mat for halfway lift.
  6. Bend your knees slightly and lift your sit bones away from the backs of your knees.
  7. Lengthen your spine and draw your shoulder blades together.
  8. Exhale and come back into a forward fold.

Variations

Place your hands on blocks or the seat of a chair. You also have the option to do this pose seated in a chair with your hands on blocks.

3. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand tall and on an inhale raise both of your hands overhead, keeping your arms straight and lengthening your spine.
  2. Exhale and bend your knees, leaning your upper body forward so it's at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Keep your lower back straight.
  3. Relax your calf muscles, allowing the weight of your upper body to sink into your pelvis. Transfer your weight into your heels.

Variations

Only bend as deeply into the pose as you can while maintaining your balance. Consider resting your hands on your thighs or hips, holding them in prayer position at your chest or raising them above your head. You also have the option to do this pose from the seat of an actual chair.

4. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. From standing, step your left foot back into a lunge, turning your left toes out so they point to the side of the mat, and lower your left heel to the floor.
  2. Keep your stance long and ensure your right knee is bent above, or slightly behind, your right ankle.
  3. Bring your arms to shoulder level, stretching them out so they're parallel to the floor (your right hand should point to the front of the mat while your left should point to the rear).
  4. Gaze out over your front (right hand) fingers.
  5. Hold for several breaths before repeating on the other side.

Variations

Perform this pose while seated on the edge of a chair.

5. Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Step your left foot back into a lunge, turning your left toes out so they point to the side of the mat, and lower your left heel to the floor.
  2. Keep your stance long and ensure your right knee is bent above, or slightly behind, your right ankle.
  3. Exhale and lower your right arm so your forearm rests on your right thigh or your palm rests on a block or two.
  4. Reach your left hand toward the ceiling as you extend your left arm overhead. Your left biceps should be over your right ear.
  5. Keeping your chest, hips and legs in one straight line, turn your head to look up at your extended arm. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.

Variations

Perform this pose seated on a chair. You can also rest your forearm on your thigh.

6. Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand with your feet 3 to 5 feet apart and keep them parallel.
  2. Place your hands on your hips and lengthen your spine with an inhale.
  3. Bend forward with an exhale, keeping your spine long. Bring your fingertips or palms to the floor.
  4. Relax your neck and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
  5. Bring your hands to your hips and engage your back muscles. Inhale and slowly rise with a flat back.

Variations

Stand with your feet closer together. You can also place your hands on blocks or on the seat of a chair in front of you. To deepen the stretch, walk your hands back until they're in line with your feet.

7. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Place your right foot on your left ankle, shin or inner thigh (but not on your knee).
  3. Square your hips forward and bring your hands to prayer position in front of your chest or above your head.
  4. Hold for a few breaths or until you feel unstable, then repeat on the other leg.

Variations

Try resting your foot on a block or your knee on the seat of a chair.

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