Locust pose or salabhasana is an intermediate backbend that serves to tone and strengthen the entire back. It promotes correct alignment for effortless deepening of backbends. It essentially prepares a beginner for deeper backbends and yoga asanas, including the challenging wheel pose that stretches and opens the entire body. It can help you with other asanas, but don’t ignore the benefits of locust pose!
While the classic version of locust pose offers several benefits, it’s crucial to recognize the restorative variation, especially for beginners managing issues like stiffness, inflammation or digestive issues, says Shivani Bajwa, a yoga and wellness coach. She advocates starting with the restorative version, which uses props to enhance the experience and address specific limitations.
How can you pose the grasshopper in the classic way?
• While lying on your stomach on a yoga mat on the floor, exhale and lift your head, arms and legs off the ground.
• Firm buttocks while stretching your back.
• Visualize a weight pressing down on your upper arms.
• Perform a push-up against resistance.
• Lift your skull toward the back of your neck, without sticking out your chin.
• Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, exhale to release, and repeat the process two or three times.
What is the Restorative Style of Locust Pose?
• Examine hip extension in ardha salabhasana (half locust pose) and place a pillow on the mat.
• Lie with your pelvis and chest on the pillow, possibly with a block under the forehead.
• Point the toes, place the feet on the floor and lift the thighs.
• Experiment with lifting one leg at a time and then both legs at the same time.
• Lift the legs higher than the hips and note any changes in the lower back.
What are the benefits of the locust pose
Although the locust pose is good for your back, it offers more health benefits.
1. Strengthens the lower back
This yoga asana targets and strengthens your lower back muscles and counteracts the effects of sitting for long periods of time, says Bajwa.
2. Strengthens the glutes
It activates and strengthens the gluteal muscles that help support the lower back when lifting something and prevent knee injuries during exercises such as running.
3. Improves posture
The locust pose encourages proper spinal alignment, which helps open both the chest and shoulders.
4. Stimulates the abdominal organs
It activates and stimulates the abdominal organs and aids in digestion, which is crucial for breaking down food into nutrients that can be used for our growth, energy and cell repair.
5. Stimulates the nervous system
The asana positively affects the sacral and lumbar regions, potentially relieving stress and fatigue.
6. Improves respiratory function
The locust pose helps open the chest, allowing deeper breathing and better breathing capacity.
7. Builds mental focus
This asana requires concentration, so while you do it, it can help you with mindfulness and mental clarity.
Who should avoid the locust pose?
The locust pose has many benefits, but may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with:
• Serious or recent back injury
• Pregnant women, especially in later stages
• Uncontrolled high blood pressure
• Recent abdominal surgery
• Wrist or shoulder injuries
• Migraine or headache
What are some popular variations of the locust pose?
The Locust pose also has some interesting variations!
• One-legged locust pose (Eka pada salabhasana), which requires you to lift only one leg off the mat for focused engagement.
• Floating locust pose where you have to lift your limbs without resting on the mat.
• Interlaced finger variation, which requires you to interlace your fingers behind your back for extra shoulder stretch.
These variations offer many challenges, so do them when you’re ready!