Awed by Sandra’s gravity-defying yoga stances? Here’s how to get started on your own. By Li Yuling
Sandra Riley Tang, the vocalist of local indie band The Sam Willows, is also a certified yoga instructor. Look up her Instagram account (@sandrarileytang) and you’ll be awed by the pictures of her in gravity-defying yoga stances.
To strengthen your body for challenging arm balances, Sandra recommends nailing these four moves first. Do them every day or whenever you can.
1. BOAT POSE
Also used in pilates, this move strengthens the core muscles.
Engaging core muscles, lift legs so body forms a V. Keep chest up and thighs close to belly without rounding spine. Be sure to roll shoulders away from ears.
TIP! If the full Boat pose is difficult, bend knees and keep shins parallel to floor instead of straightening legs. Hold for 10 seconds.
Alternatively, up the challenge by slowly widening the angle between torso and thighs until back and legs are about 2cm to 3cm off floor and return to starting position. Repeat five times.
2. CORE PREP
A preparatory move for the Crane or Crow pose, this helps to activate the abdominal muscles that are required to stay tight in the pose.
Rounding the back, squeeze yourself into a tight ball, reach out in front of you and stay as compact as possible. Tuck chin between knees. Hold for 10 seconds.
3. DOWNWARD FACING DOG
This basic yoga move builds strength in the shoulders and gives the hamstrings a good stretch.
Pushing away from floor, suck in belly and tilt tailbone to ceiling. Push heels down while pressing belly as close to thighs as possible. Hold for one minute.
4. FOUR-LIMBED STAFF POSE
Also known as the chaturanga, this move builds core and arm strength required to do arm balances. Most basic arm balances are done with them bent at a 90-degree angle close to the body.
Starting from plank position, lean body forward slightly. Keeping core engaged and chest open, lower yourself down while keeping elbows close to sides of body and maintain right angle. Hold for five seconds.
Also read: Sandra Riley Tang, Unplugged