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Top 10 Standing Balance Yoga / Dance Poses: How Many Can You Do?

All poses are demonstrated by Sapphire Ng, guitarist, dancer, model and pioneer of Contortion Guitar.

Standing Scorpion Split Pose

1. Scorpion Pose


Target skills

Backbend, Front Splits

How to get into the pose

From standing, reach left arm outwards from the front to the side and to the back with palm facing up (and vice versa)

Grab left foot with left hand

Rotate left arm to bring elbow to face the front

Grab left foot also with right hand

Lean torso forwards into front splits

Drop head backwards to touch left foot

Notes

For beginners, practice this pose with a supporting hand on the wall or with torso leaning against the wall

A simpler version of this pose would be to bring the back foot to the head whilst keeping the torso upright without leaning into front splits

It is simpler to maintain balance keeping the head upright without dropping the head backwards to the back foot

To grab the back foot with the hand and to rotate the arm to bring elbow to face the front requires great flexibility in the back, hip flexors and shoulders/arms. If you are unable to do this, focus on improving flexibility in these target areas or attempt with the help of a band

A preparatory version of this pose can be practiced in a front splits on the ground, with the back foot brought towards the head

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2. Leg Behind Head Pose


Target skills

Leg Behind Head, Front Splits

How to get into the pose

From standing, bend the supporting leg and lift and place other leg behind the head

Straighten supporting leg

Notes

For those needing extra help with balance, practice this pose with a supporting hand on the wall

A less intense version of this pose would be to maintain a bent supporting leg instead of straightening the supporting leg

It is imperative to be comfortable with leg behind head in a seated position before attempting this pose

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3. Side Penche


Target skills

Middle Splits, Sidebend

How to get into the pose

From standing, lean sideways into a middle split with the help of both hands

Make sure to properly align the leg in the air into the middle splits line

With the help of the hands, compress the torso against the bottom leg, ie. supporting leg

If possible, slowly lift both hands off the ground

Notes

To practice balance, the free leg can be bent, and try to lift one hand at a time off the ground

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4. Dancer’s Pose


Target skills

Backbend, Front Splits

How to get into the pose

From standing, grab left foot or calf with left hand (or vice versa) from the inside

Looking straight to the front, extend and straighten the left leg as much as you can into front splits

Notes

Grabbing the foot or calf from the outside gives a less intense stretch in the shoulders

To help with balance, extend the free arm straight forward

Standing Foot-Under-Chin Splits

5. Foot-Under-Chin Front Splits


Target skills

Backbend, Front Splits

How to get into the pose

From standing, place left hand under left knee (or vice versa) and right hand on left toes

With the help of both hands, place foot under chin

Stretch into a deeper front splits

If possible, remove both supporting hands from the leg

Notes

The more the foot can be placed under the chin, the simpler it would be to keep it in position

The greater the lean into front splits, the more challenging the balance

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6. Side Splits Leg Hold Pose


Target skills

Middle Splits, Sidebend

How to get into the pose

From standing, grab heel of foot with same side hand

Straighten leg into middle splits

Reach other arm behind the head to grab the foot, ankle or leg and pull leg as much as possible towards the head or behind the head

Same side hand lets go of heel

Notes

Keep the free hand extended out sideways to help with balance

The more the torso is held upright, the simpler it will be to balance in the pose

Practice this pose with a supporting hand on the wall if needed

Focus on maintaining a strong and solid supporting leg at all times

  • Fake Front Splits Leg Hold Pose
  • Square Front Splits Leg Hold Pose

7. Front Splits Leg Hold Pose


Target skills

Front Splits, Frontbend

How to get into the pose

From standing, grab heel of foot with both hands

Straighten leg into front splits

Notes

There are 2 versions possible for this pose: square splits and fake splits

For square splits, keep hips square, and foot of supporting leg facing squarely to the front

For fake splits, the foot of supporting leg is allowed to open to the side, giving a less intense stretch

  • Leaning Mermaid Dancer’s Pose
  • Mermaid Dancer’s Pose

8. Mermaid Dancer’s Pose


Target skills

Backbend, Front Splits, Torso Rotation

How to get into the pose

From standing, grab left ankle with left hand (or vice versa) and pull foot towards the head

Right hand grabs the toes of left foot and place left foot against the left elbow

Right hand is free to position itself touching left hand

Lean forwards to deepen the front splits

Notes

If you’re unable to place your foot against the elbow, work on improving back flexibility

If this pose is too difficult, first practice Mermaid’s Pose in a Front Splits on the ground

Leaning Sidebend Leg Hold Pose

9. Leaning Sidebend Leg Hold Pose


Target skills

Middle Splits, Sidebend

How to get into the pose

From standing, grab heel of foot with same side hand

Straighten leg into middle splits

Reach other arm behind the head to grab the foot, ankle or leg and pull leg as much as possible towards the head or behind the head/shoulders

Same side hand lets go of heel

With the torso of the body tightly adjacent to the splitting leg, start leaning both torso and splitting leg towards the direction of the leg, making sure to maintain an open chest

Maintain a strong and solid supporting leg at all times

Notes

Make sure to be confident with Side Splits Leg Hold Pose before attempting this pose

This pose gives an intense sidebend stretch, so be sure to warm up accordingly beforehand

Lean from the hips instead of just bending the upper body to the side

If this pose is too difficult, practice it with a supporting hand on the wall

Front Penche Balance

10. Front Penche


Target skills

Front Splits, Frontbend

How to get into the pose

With hands support

From standing, lean forwards into a front split placing both hands on the ground

With the help of the hands, compress the torso against the bottom leg, ie. supporting leg

If possible, slowly lift both hands off the ground

Without hands support (in a dancer’s style)

From standing and extending outstretched arms to each side, slowly lean forwards and bring the leg up until the torso reaches the bottom leg and the leg extends into front splits

Notes

As much as possible, try to align legs in a square front splits

To practice balance, the free leg can be tucked in to the chest and bent, with arms outstretched to each side


Sapphire Ng

Sapphire Ng is a guitarist, dancer, model and pioneer of Contortion Guitar, an original and distinctive performance act which unites acrobatics and contortion with guitar playing.

She is also a 2-time scholarship winner, having graduated with a second class honours with upper division for her Bachelor of Laws, Law LLB at Queen Mary University of London in the UK, and also with a Summa Cum Laude for her Bachelor of Music in Music Business and Management degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA.

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