Locust (Salabhasana) is a back strengthening pose that will invigorate your practice and activate key muscles for more challenging poses like inversions.
Before you try Locust, practice Balancing Table Top to get an idea of the appropriate back activation without compressing the low back too much.
The goal is not bend your back in half!
Rather, this pose should feel supportive for your back.
Locust is an isometric hold that should strengthen the entire back of the body.
When your back is constantly hunched over the computer, your spine is in a state of flexion. When you perform locust pose, it’s in a state of extension that counteracts poor posture.
Remember: A strong back is a pain free back!
Bare Bones Pose:
- Lie on your belly in a prone position.
- Hands palm face down by the hips. Shoulders should be down and together. Legs are hip width apart.
- Tuck the pelvis and relax the glutes.
- On an inhale, lift the upper and lower body off the floor.
- Try to imagine keeping a long spine and reach behind you to shoot energy out your fingers and toes.
- Look at the ground in front of you to prevent neck strain.
- It’s not about how far you come up off the ground, it’s about engaging the whole back.
- Hold for 3 breaths or 15 seconds.
- Close with a counterpose in Childs.
Grounded Locust: Good variation for people who experience low back pain during the traditional locust pose. Keep the tops of your feet and toenails glued to the floor. Inhale to lift the upper body off the floor, keeping the pelvis tucked. You should feel engaged through the upper back, similar to Baby Cobra. Hold for 3 breaths, 15 seconds.
Rear Deltoid Activation I, T, Y: Strengthening the rear delts prevents rounding through the shoulders and chest, promoting better posture. Without lifting your body off the floor, raise your arms targeting the backs of the arms. Pulse the arms alongside your body for 15 reps making an “I” shape. Lower to the floor and take a short rest. Bring the arms out in line with the shoulders making a “T”. Raise the arms and pulse again for 15 reps. Rest. Last, raise the arms in front of you with the thumbs up making a “Y”. Pulse for 15 reps. Try to keep the neck in neutral throughout.
Strapped Locust: Using a strap or towel in this pose will add extra resistance for the rear deltoids. Hold the strap taut in front of you, wider than shoulder width apart. As you lift into this variation, imagine pulling the strap apart between your hands to activate the rear delts. Hold for 3 breaths, 15 seconds.
Clasped Locust: An added chest opener! Interlace your hands behind your back. Extend your elbows to straighten. Lift as you would in regular Locust. Try to lift your arms away from your glutes. Hold for 3 breaths, 15 seconds.
Scorpion variations: From clasped locust, roll over onto your right side for a deeper chest stretch that targets the upper pectorals. If you are unable to hold the clasp, let go and reach your right arm out with your left hand behind your back. Turn your chest toward the ceiling and let your head rest on the floor. Switch sides!
Swimmers: Lying in prone position, reach your arms in front on you. Lift your right arm and left leg off the ground engaging the back. Press the opposing limbs into the floor. Switch sides after 5 seconds. Challenge: Lift your whole body off the ground. Then try to lift the right arm and left leg a little higher than the opposing sides. Switch after 5 seconds. Looks like you’re really swimming now!
Half Bow Pose: Great prep for Bow pose. Bend the right knee and reach back with the right hand for the outside of the foot. Reach your opposite hand out in front of you. Inhale to lift whole body off the floor. Press the foot into the hand to lift the right toes higher making a teardrop shape with your body. Hold for 3 breaths, 15 seconds. Switch sides.