Formidable Face Pose

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Formidable Face Pose Mean?

Formidable face pose is an advanced backbend that also provides a full stretch of the front of the body. This posture is considered so difficult that it is rated 56 out of 60 on the Iyengar yoga difficulty scale.

From a prone position with the chin resting on the mat, the yogi lifts the legs and arches the back until the feet rest on the ground alongside the face. The arm position varies, but a common one has the forearms draped over the feet with the chin resting atop the fingers.

Formidable face pose is also known by its Sanskrit name, ganda bherundasana.

Formidable Face Pose


Yogapedia Explains Formidable Face Pose

In Ashtanga yoga, formidable face pose is part of the advanced A, or third series, vinyasa. Because of the intensity of the backbend, yogis should not attempt formidable face pose until beginner and intermediate backbends have been mastered.

In addition to improved flexibility throughout the front body and back, this posture is believed to have these benefits:

  • Tones the abdominal organs
  • Reduces stress and calms the mind
  • Improves circulation
  • Improves the respiratory system
  • Eases headaches and menstrual pain

Yogis with back, neck or shoulder problems should skip formidable face pose. To make the posture more accessible, folded blankets or a shoulder stand pad can be placed under the chest or shoulders, reducing the neck strain.

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