Salabhasana
(sha-la-BAHS-anna) salabha = grasshopper, locust

Among the 12 basic Hatha yoga postures, Locust Pose (Salabhasana) is the seventh of them. It is also the second of the three exercises for strengthening the back. 'Shalabha' is a Sanskrit term which means 'grasshopper' or 'locust'.

How to :
  1. For the performance of this pose you may want to pad the ground below your ribs and pelvis with a folded blanket. The Locust Pose steps are as follows.
  2. To begin this pose, you should come to the lying position with your belly on the floor. Keep your arms at the sides of your torso, forehead resting on the ground, and your palms up. Your big toes should be turned inward so that your thighs are rotated. Keep your buttocks firm so that your coccyx is pressed to the pubis.
  3. Breathe out and raise your head, legs, arms, and upper torso away from the ground. You will be resting on your front pelvis, belly, and lower ribs. Make sure that your buttocks are firm and stretch out your legs.
  4. Let the big toes remain turned toward each other.
  5. Raise your arms so that they come parallel to the ground and actively stretch them backwards. Imagine there is a weight pushing down on your upper arms and push up against this resistance. Your scapulas (shoulder blades) should be pressed into your back.
  6. Look either directly forward or a little upward and be careful not to push your chin forward or put pressure on the nape of your neck. The base of your skull should be lifted and the back of your neck should be kept long.
  7. Remain in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute and release with an exhalation. You can take a few breaths and perform the steps 2 to 3 more times if you feel like it.
Remember :
Practicing the Locust pose in a correct manner can provide a lot of benefits. Therefore, make sure to follow all the instructions and tips during your practice. A good beginner’s tip for Locust Pose is to concentrate on the lengthening of the spine. It’s not important how high you lift up. Putting too much emphasis on the height can put a strain on your neck and back and cause injury. You can rotate your thighs inward by making your big toes turn towards each other. This will prevent too much lower back compression. Your pelvis should be drawn firmly to the mat. This will enable a better lift of your upper body. Your buttocks should be kept firm, but not hard. You could make use of the back and abdominal muscles to lift yourself in the pose. You should always perform the pose on a mat or blanket and never on bare ground.

Benefits
  • Anatomical - Strengthens the back muscles and is effective in treating lower back pain including slipped disk and sciatica.
  • Digestive system - Massages the abdominal organs and stimulates the digestive system.
  • Mental - Increase blood flow to the brain and pituitary gland increasing mental calmness and clarity.
With a partner :
Making use of a partner can help you work the back part of the upper arms. Your partner should stand next to your torso while you practice the pose. Your partner should then come forward and place his or her arms on the backs of your upper arms. You should then push upwards against the resistance.

Adding more repetitions when performing the Locust Pose will help lengthen, strengthen and revive your body. However, it is best to perform this pose under the guidance of a practitioner (or partner adept in yoga) to avoid injury.

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