You’re heard of the ice bucket challenge, you’ve done the Mannequin challenge. This International Day of Yoga, how about creating a challenge of your own? Do you want to surprise your friends and family? If yes, then read on. Here are twelve yoga asanas (postures) that look simple. Yet, try holding them for a minute, and watch the fun. 

It might also help to recall what Sage Patanjali said: Sthira sukham asanam. When you do any yoga asana, ensure that your body is stable or sthira (not shaky) and you do not feel any sort of pain or discomfort in that posture. It must be comfortable or sukham. Even a slight tremble in the body implies that you’re not comfortable. 

Remember, it’s a fun challenge and not a competition. So never strain in any of the asanas. They are best done in loose clothing. Don’t eat anything two hours before doing any of the asanas. Preferably, use a yoga mat. 

Now that we’re done with the rules, let’s begin. 

1. Bhujangasana (The Cobra Pose)

Rear like a proud cobra. This asana looks easy, yet the tricky part is to hold that pose. Bhujangasana strengthens the spine and stimulates abdominal organs. It is beneficial for people with asthma (though please don’t do this in the middle of an attack!). 

Precaution: Bhujangasana should be avoided by pregnant women and people with a back injury. People experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome or recovering from an abdominal surgery such as hernia should also avoid it. 

You can learn more about this asana here. 

2. Gomukhasana (The Cow Face Pose)

Hold this posture for a double-digit count, and you’re amazing. This asana looks like a clever knotting of the body, and strengthens the shoulders, triceps, hips and thigh. It’s also very useful in curing sciatica, helps in high blood pressure and reduces stress and anxiety.

Precaution: Gomukhasana should be avoided by people with spondylitis, bleeding piles or leg injury. People experiencing pain in the shoulders or any other key body part are also advised not to do this asana

You can learn more about the asana here. 

3. Pavanamuktasana (The Wind Relieving Pose)

If you’re in the mood, try rocking back and forth or sideways in Pavanamuktasana. Of course, it feels great, is a good back massage and you will feel lighter in the stomach. Pavanamuktasana strengthens the intestine, abdominal muscles and the back. It is beneficial in relieving constipation and gas. 

Precaution:  Pavanamuktasana should be avoided by pregnant and menstruating women. People who have high blood pressure, heart problems or hyperacidity are also advised not to do this asana

Want to know more? Click here.

4. Dhanurasana (The Bow Pose)

Don’t get into a giggle spurt when you’re in this posture. Or better still, try making someone laugh when they’re holding this posture. Dhanurasana is a relaxing posture which gives your body a good stretch. It adds greater flexibility in the back, strengthens the abdominal muscles, and is a great stress buster. So if you feel amazing after this posture challenge, you will know why.

Precaution: Dhanurasana should be avoided by pregnant women. People who have a back injury or stomach-related problems are also advised not to do this asana.

Know how to do this posture correctly. 

5. Chakrasana (The Wheel Pose)

Strengthen the glutes and thighs, shoulders, core with this one posture. You’re going to need good strength in your hands to do this asana. But perhaps this asana will take you back to your childhood. 

Precaution: Chakrasana should be avoided by people with a back, shoulder, wrist, leg or ankle injury. Pregnant women and people with high or low blood pressure are also advised not to do this asana.

Learn more about this asana here.

6. Sarvangasana (The Shoulder Stand)

It looks simple, yet not so simple to keep that balance. Sarvangasana strengthens the arms and shoulders and keeps the spine flexible. It is also beneficial for varicose veins. It also  stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Sarvangasana is also beneficial to the heart as it helps in returning more venous blood to the heart.

Precaution: Sarvangasana should be avoided by pregnant and menstruating women. People who have acute thyroid, back, heart or neck problems as well as people with high blood pressure are also advised not to do this asana.

Find out more about this asana here. 

7. Matsyasana (The Fish Pose)

It is said if you do this posture correctly in water, you will float. Just like a fish. This posture requires immense focus, and steadiness. Matsyasana helps to relieve tension in the neck and shoulders. It is also beneficial for respiratory disorders by encouraging deep breathing. It tones the parathyroid, pituitary and pineal glands.

Precaution: Matsyasana should be avoided by people with a back or neck injury. People who have migraine, insomnia or high/low blood pressure are also advised not to do this asana.

Learn more about this posture here. 

8. Chaturanga Dandasana (The Four-limbed Staff Pose) 

For a beginner, 10 seconds is great in this posture. This asana helps to keep the core aligned, maintains core stability, increases stamina and strengthens the back muscles. 

Precaution: Avoid this asana during pregnancy, and if you have sustained injuries in the back, shoulder or hand. 

For more information on this asana, read this link. 

9. Vishnuasana (Lying-down on the side)

You might just topple over on one side, or perhaps not. Perhaps you will sink into this posture and experience deep rest – just like Lord Vishnu. This posture brings deep relaxation, and stretches the pelvic joints.  

Precaution: If you’ve had a pelvic or abdominal surgery, then it’s best to avoid this asana

Learn the correct way of resting completely in the Vishnuasana.   

10. Viparita Salabhasana (The Superman Pose) 

This looks like a breeze, but trying balancing on your stomach and you will know. The superman pose will improve blood circulation, tones the abdomen and lower back, and is a great workout for the abs. It also works on the mind as it really conditions you into staying in the present moment! 

Precaution: Please do not attempt this posture if you’re pregnant or have recently undergone an abdominal surgery. 

Read more about this asana here.   

11. Naukasana (The Boat Pose) 

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…if only it were that easy. You might just break out into a sweat within a few seconds of this deceptively simple-looking posture. Naukasana is great for the back, tones your hands and legs. And you’re sure to get a good laugh looking at the attempts made during this challenge!

Precaution: Please avoid this posture if you’re pregnant, menstruating, have asthma or are a heart patient. 

Learn more about this pose here.

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12. Savasana (The Corpse Pose) 

This might seem like the easiest pose ever. How can it be a challenge? Yet, in today’s busy world, we cannot remain still. The mind and body are constantly fidgeting and moving around. From one thing to the next and the next… You can ace the shavasana completely – without any facial movement, without even a toe or finger shifting even the slightest. With a steady breath and the mind completely in the present moment, then you have done this asana completely. This asana reduces vata imbalance (that of the air element in us), insomnia and anxiety.  

Precautions: None! Unless the doctor has asked you to avoid lying on your back.