Despite its unassuming form, Salabhasana is nowhere as easy as it looks. One of the 12 basic postures that form a part of Hatha Yoga, the Locust Pose (as it’s sometimes called) is a mild back-bender that strengthens the muscles in our neck, back, as well as the arms and legs. Runners who practice this will find that it makes a great difference to their posture as well as helps maintain form and concentration during long-distance runs. It also protects against lower-back injuries and muscle pulls, which makes the asana part of a great recovery routine after aerobic workouts.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Rest your forehead on the mat. Extend your legs straight behind you, hip-width apart. Do not roll your heels inward or outward; rather press your weight evenly across the tops of both feet.
- Inhale and lift the legs, head, chest, and arms off of the floor. Reach out through the fingers, toes and crown of the head. Keep the neck in line with the spine.
- Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Keep the legs and buttocks strong, and the pubic bone pressed down into the floor.
- Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.
- To release: exhale and slowly lower the chest, head, arms and legs to the floor. Turn the head to one side, and slide the arms alongside your body and rest. Rock the hips from side to side to release any tension in the low back.
Those who start out often find it challenging to hold the pose for long. You can use a rolled-up mat for support under the chest to lift the upper body. Conversely, using one under your thighs can help support the legs as you lift. Those with serious back or neck injuries should avoid this pose.
- Strengthens muscles in the spine, buttocks, and backs of the arms and legs
- Stretches the shoulders, chest, and thighs
- Improves posture
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Helps relieve stress and increase concentration