A pose taken on the belly, Locust pose is an extremely effective backbend that tones and strengthens the back muscles. Our back muscles provide support to the entire body, and performing exercises that promote strength in this region is extremely important for overall fitness.
Locust Pose (Shalabhasana)
In this pose, the body is shaped like a locust or grasshopper, hence the appropriate name given to this posture. Locust pose might seem simple but is an effective backbend for the back muscles.
Derived from Sanskrit, ‘Shalabha’ means locust and ‘Asana’ means pose or posture. Shalabhasana or locust pose is a foundation for many deeper backbends that target the back muscles.
The following directions will help you practice performing the locust pose effectively:
- Start by lying down on your abdomen and keep your arms beside your body. Your legs should be extended out behind you; press your weight on the tops of your feet.
- As you inhale, gently lift your head to look forward and exhale to lift your chest and arms. You can move your arms back to extend them behind you.
- Using the strength of your thighs, lift your legs as high off the ground as you can and shift the weight to your belly.
- Keep your chest lifted and extend your shoulder blades away from each other. Hold this pose for 60 seconds and focus on your breath.
- Exhale to release and return to the starting position. Repeat locust pose at least 2–3 times.
There are several modifications you can take in order to add comfort to the posture:
- Add a blanket or a pillow below the abdomen to keep the pressure off.
- If raising both legs feel uncomfortable, start by gently raising one leg and then the other.
- Place a blanket or a cushion on the floor to rest your head on to take the pressure off of your neck and throat.
Besides strengthening the back muscles, locust pose comes with various benefits for the mind and body.
Added benefits of locust pose include the following:
- Strengthens the muscles surrounding the buttocks, back of arms and legs, and spine
- Stretches the shoulders and chest
- Promotes good posture
- Reduces stress
- Strengthens the hips
- Reduces excess fat around the hips and buttocks
- Improves abdominal and digestive function
- Combats feelings of fatigue
As with most exercise, it is important to consult your doctor before practicing this pose, especially if you are recovering from any injuries or suffer from chronic conditions.
It is best to avoid locust pose under the following conditions:
- Cardiac problems
- Severe back pain
- Slipped disk
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Severe abdominal problems
Locus pose can bring the body numerous benefits if practiced regularly and correctly.
Some tips to keep in mind:
- Focus on the length of your spine, make sure to distribute your stretch across all the back muscles.
- Keep your core tight and engaged to cultivate strength
- Focus on firming your torso instead of making them too hard.
1. How can one practice the locust pose?
Locust pose is practiced on the belly. By following the instructions written above, you will be able to perform this pose with ease.
Updated by Siya Rajan on 06/14/2018
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Courtesy The Yoga Institute, Santacruz (E), Mumbai