Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Locust Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions


Salabhasana or Locust Pose is the safest way to prepare yourself for backbends. This mild backbend builds the core strength you will need to protect your back in deeper backbends.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Variations Partnering

Salabhasana

(Pronounced as "SHA-la-BAHS-anna")

In Sanskrit, salabha traditionally means "locust." Here your body takes the shape of a locust lying in the grass, getting ready to fly.

How to do Locust Pose

Step One

Before you start, spread out a yoga blanket on top of your mat to have some extra cushioning for your hips. Now lie face down on your yoga mat. Stretch your arms back with your forearms against the ground and palms facing the ceiling. Tighten your buttocks and tuck your tailbone in firmly toward the floor.

Step Two

Take a breath. On an exhalation, lift your straight legs, arms and chest up off of the mat at the same time. Pull your ribs as much up off of the mat as possible. Try to put as much of your weight on your belly, pelvis and abdomen as you can while keeping everything else lifted off the ground. Arch your chest and look up toward the sky. Keep your legs and feet together.

Step Three

Stretch your arms back, keeping them parallel to the ground. Hold your arms at the same level as your legs and try to keep reaching further behind you as your chest expands. Tuck your shoulder blades strongly into your spine, rolling your shoulders back.

Step Four

Do not crunch your neck as you continue looking up. Let the lift of your head be a natural extension of the arching of your entire back. Your head looks up at about a 45-degree angle from the floor.

Step Five

Hold the posture for 30 seconds. Over time, you can practice extending the time up to a minute.

Beginner's Tip:

It can be difficult to hold up both the arms and legs at the same time. You can start by pressing your palms into the floor by the sides of your chest. Keep your hands on the floor, raise your head to look up and lift your chest. Now practice only lifting your legs while your abdomen stays on the mat. Start by lifting only one leg at a time. Then when that becomes easy, practice holding up both legs off of the floor at the same time.

After you are comfortable holding up the legs, then interlock your fingers together behind your back, stretch your arms straight behind you and push your hands back to make it easier to open up the shoulders and keep them up. Then you can finally let your hands come apart and extend your arms straight back by your sides with the palms facing up.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Salabhasana

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

  1. Headaches caused by chronic neck pain
  2. Recent back injuries
  3. Menstruation
  4. Pregnancy
  5. For neck injuries: Your head can stay in a neutral position just looking down at the floor. Alternatively, you can also rest your forehead on a rolled-up yoga blanket.

Modifications and Props:

If you need some extra support to hold this pose, then roll up a yoga blanket and place it under your torso near the top of your rib cage to train your chest to lift properly. Then you can also roll up another yoga blanket and place it under the middle of your thighs on the mat to support your leg lifting.

Deepen the Pose:

When you start becoming comfortable with Salabhasana, then you can try the intermediate version. After you come into the full pose, bend your knees and keep your thighs apart, holding your shins up perpendicular to the floor. You can slightly point your toes as the soles of your feet now face the ceiling. Take a breath. When you exhale, lift your thighs off the mat and bring your knees closer together. Keep stretching your straightened arms back and lifting your chest. You can press the tops of your hands into the mat now to help you lift further.

Therapeutic Applications:

  1. Chronic fatigue
  2. Digestive troubles
  3. Lower-back pain

Benefits

  • Boosts digestion
  • Relieves lower backaches
  • Promotes better back alignment
  • Enhances circulation to the bladder, prostate glands and reproductive organs
  • Builds strength in the back, core muscles, chest and thighs

Variations

For a greater challenge in this pose, try the advanced version of Salabhasana called Makarasana, or Crocodile Pose. You pronounce it as "mah-kah-RAHS-anna." After you come into the full posture of Salabhasana, keep your body weight on your abdominal region alone as you bend your elbows and bring your hands forward to interlock your fingers behind your head. Your palms should touch the back of your head with your thumbs and index fingers at the base of your skull.

Do not press your hands into your head because that will lead to collapsing your chest. Let your hands just have light contact with your head as you focus on lifting your elbows, your chest and your legs higher away from the floor.

Partnering

Have a partner help you to stretch back and expand your chest more. Take a yoga belt and hold one end in each of your hands as you come into the pose. Then your partner should stand behind you and pull the center of the yoga belt back in the direction of your feet. This extra lift will help you arch your back more and go deeper into the pose.

Next Pose:

Lotus Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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