HOW TO PRACTICE Locust Pose IN YOGA (Salabhasana)
Benefits, How to Instructions, Modifications, and Common Alignment Mistakes for Locust Pose
Locust Pose (Sanskrit name: Salabhasana) is a beautiful, low-intensity backbending yoga pose that strengthens the entire back body, from the backs of the legs all the way up the spine. Along with Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) and Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose), it is part of the family of “baby backbends.”
This seemingly simple yoga posture is deceptively challenging and requires a variety of intricate and subtle muscular actions.
For example, there is a tendency to initiate the movement into this backbend by lifting from the head. It is actually the grounding of the lower body that enables the lift of the upper body. As you ground your hips, make sure you initiate the lift from the chest rather than from your head and neck. The majority of the work should be coming from your back and trunk muscles. Think of drawing your chest forward and up, maintaining a soft quality, as well as length, in your neck.
Benefits of Locust Pose
Locust Pose strengthens the entire back body, especially the erector spinae muscles that help to create healthy posture. This yoga pose helps counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and poor postural habits. Too much sitting can result in rounded shoulders, caused by overstretched upper back muscles and shortened pectoral muscles in front. In addition, poor core support produces slack abdominal muscles.
Salabhasana counteracts these imbalances to help improve posture. In addition to the work of the stabilizing muscles close to the spine, different arm variations can expand the chest and mobilize and strengthen the muscles of the shoulder girdle.
The spinal stabilizing and strengthening qualities of Locust Pose make it effective in preventing and reducing low back pain. The gentle tension produced by the spinal and back muscles can strengthen the vertebrae, which can help prevent or counteract osteoporosis and osteopenia. The pressure of the abdomen against the floor can help stimulate digestion. Like all backbending asanas, Salabhasana can also be energizing to the body and mind.
Basic Locust Pose
- Lie in prone position on a yoga mat, placing your feet hips-distance apart. You may want to place a folded blanket under your pelvis to pad your hip bones.
- Internally rotate your thighs so that the inner thighs rotate up toward the ceiling. Firm your outer ankles inward, so that the feet point straight back behind you, in line with the shins.
- Interlace your fingers behind your back and rest your hands on your sacrum.
- On an inhalation, ground through your abdomen and legs. Extend your arms, reaching your fingers back toward your heels, as you lift your head, chest and shoulders off the ground.
- Keep your knees and feet grounded, pressing down through all 10 toes.
- Draw the heads of your shoulders back to spread your collarbones and expand your chest.
- Extend your tailbone downward, creating as much length in your lower back as you can.
- Stay for several breaths before exhaling and lowering your upper body to the ground.