The Salabhasana or Locust Pose is an excellent back strengthener. This pose seems simple, but challenging. This is especially done before posing which requires extreme flexibility as it builds the strength required to support the flexibility that will increase over time.
The Salabhasana or Locust Pose pays attention to the strength of your spine, back, and hips, while stretching your spine as well as your thighs, chest, abdomen, and shoulders. Asana can help you fight stress while improving your posture. Experts believe that Salabhasana or Locust Pose can relieve constipation, gas, tiredness and lower back pain.
|Also name as:||Salabhasana, Salambhasana, Locust Pose, One-legged Locust Pose|
|Total Time:||30 to 60 seconds|
|Strengthens:||Arm, Leg, Buttocks, Vertebral column|
|Stretches:||Shoulder, Thigh, Thorax, Navel|
|Counter poses:||Adho mukha svanasana (Downward facing dog pose), Balasana (Child’s pose), Eka pada rajakapotasana (Half pigeon pose), Lying on belly|
|Preparatory poses:||Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), Baddha Konasana Uttanasana (Bound Angle Forward Bend), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)|
|Follow-up poses:||Uttana Shishosana (Puppy Dog Pose), Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose), Catur Svanasana (Dolphin Pose), Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)/Advasana (Reverse Corpse Pose)|
|Indications:||Constipation, gas, lower back pain, exhaustion|
|Contraindications:||Headache, major back injury (acute back pain or slip disc); modification for neck injury, sciatica, menstruation or prolapsed uterus, pregnancy, blood pressure|
Benefits of Salabhasana or Locust Pose
- Salabhasana or Locust Pose stimulates the entire autonomic nervous system, specifically the parasympathetic outflow.
- It increases the flexibility and strength of the spine, increases the blood supply to the spine, rejuvenates the spinal nerves, and tones the muscles of the back, shoulders, neck, and buttocks.
- This pose also gives relief for back pain, mild sciatica and slipped discs and other small back problems.
- Salabhasana or Locust Pose increases abdominal pressure, which in turn ignites the digestive fire, relieves gastric troubles and constipation, and balances tone and liver function.
- According to Gheranda Samhita, it gives strength and warmth to the body.
Steps to Salabhasana or Locust Pose
- Lie facedown on your stomach, with your arms alongside your body, your palms and forehead down. Turn your thighs inward by turning your big toes towards each other. Tension your hips so that your tailbone pushes into your pubis.
- Take a breath. Raise your head, upper body, legs and arms above the ground. Strain your hips again and actively reach towards the soles of feet and toes, through your legs. Your big toes should be facing each other. Raise your arms parallel to the ground and push back into the sky through the tips of your fingers. Press your shoulder blades together vigorously.
- Keep your head stable and look forward. The back of the neck should be long with your head raised.
- Establish a smooth flowing breath and wait for the inner cue to begin and stay in this position for 30 to 60 seconds. To release yourself from this pose, exhale, rest your body on the ground, relax and take a few breaths.
Step-by-step Anatomy Engaging Techniques
- Activate your quadriceps to extend your knees.
- Your tensor fascia lata synergizes this action. There is a tendency to turn your lower legs outward in this pose—as with all poses that use your gluteus maximus to extend your hips. This manifests in your kneecaps facing outward, when ideally you want them to face a neutral direction.
- Your tensor fascia lata counteracts this by internally rotating your femurs. A cue for isolating and contracting this muscle is to imagine pressing your outside edges of the feet into an immovable object, as if attempting to draw them away from your midline.
- This engages your abductor component of your tensor fascia lata and gluteus medius. Resist this by pressing your knees together, and note how your thighs roll inward, bringing your kneecaps more toward neutral.
- Contract your gluteus maximus to extend your hips, lifting the femurs. At the same time, engage your hamstrings; A cue for this is to bend your knees about 10 degrees while lifting your thighs off the floor. Maintain the lift of your thighs, and activate your quadriceps to straighten the knees, as described in Step-1.
- Tilt your pelvis back and down. Both your hamstrings and gluteus maximus contribute to this action by pulling on their origins on your ischial tuberosities and on your ilium and sacrum, respectively (closed chain contraction). Retroverting your pelvis in this way aids in lifting your back.
- Extend your back and open your chest by contracting your erector spinae and quadratus lumborum muscles. Note how each segment of your vertebral column contributes to the final pose.
- Engage mula bandha to contract your pubococcygeus muscle. This aids in nutating your pelvis and exemplifies how a small movement (nutation) can affect the pose.
- In this case, drawing your tip of the tailbone forward with your pubococcygeus muscle levers your spine slightly higher and stabilizes your pelvis.
Contract your infraspinatus and teres minor muscles to externally rotate your shoulders. Engage your lower trapezius to draw your scapulae down the back. Note how these two actions combine to open your chest forward.
Contract your triceps to straighten your elbows. Then press your hands into the mat to lift your chest; This engages your anterior deltoids. Once your chest is lifted, hold it there by contracting your back muscles, including your erector spinae. Then activate your posterior deltoids to extend the humeri and lift your hands off the mat.
- Flex your ankles to point the feet, so that your soles of the feet face upward. This activates your gastrocnemius/soleus complex.
- Slightly evert your ankles by contracting your peroneus longus and brevis muscles on the outer sides of your lower legs.
- Then counter this by engaging your tibialis posterior to create a slight inversion force.
- These actions combine to stabilize your ankles and open your soles of the feet, stimulating minor chakras located in this region.
Salabhasana or Locust Pose variation 1
- As you breathe-in, lift your upper body away from the floor. When you exhale, lower your upper body to the floor. Do this slowly 5 or 10 times. Do not be mechanical and do not be in a hurry. Be comfortable and calm. Synchronize movement with the breath, lengthening the breath, so movement is slow. Keep your hands and feet on the floor.
- As you do repetitions, do not tilt your head backwards to the neck while looking forward. Tuck the chin, gaze downward, and elongate and lift the back of your neck upwards. Do not create tension in your throat as you do this or pull your chin excessively – but establish maximum length on both the front and back sides of the neck. Direct the stretch in and out through the crown of your head. Keep the shoulders rolled up and back.
Salabhasana or Locust Pose variation 2
- Inhale, and lift the upper body away from the floor. Stay here for about 15 seconds comfortably. Relax and breathe comfortably.
- Raise your legs. Extend them in the direction they are pointing and follow the line of energy out and up. Your legs don’t have to be together, but push them straight. Tighten the knees, spread your toes, and push the feet away from you. Stay here for another 15 seconds. Relax without losing the action of the posture.
- Lower the forehead and upper body to the floor. Keep your legs high. Breathe smoothly. Stay here for another 15 seconds.
Note: People with headaches or major back injuries should avoid this pose. Individuals with neck injuries may want to use a thick blanket to support their forehead during this posture.
Salabhasana or Locust Pose is said to live at a place of rest, but this pose is something else, but a relaxation posture. It takes a lot of effort just to get into the pose, like a grasshopper jumps to throw himself backward. When you practice this pose, just getting up in the posture and staying there is intense. It teaches you how to focus and set your mind to work. You stay calm, still be alert.
This pose strengthens the abdomen and back, your chest also opens. Your body becomes more aware of itself, and as you practice this asana, you begin to understand what is needed for a balanced spine. Your body is strengthened enough to help you to balance the arm.
Typically, the backbend uses the limbs to push the body against gravity. But in Salabhasana or Locust Pose, hands and feet are suspended, and therefore, the back and abdomen have to work harder to lift the body.