Shalabhasana - Locust Pose

Locust pose increases flexibility of the cervical vertebrae and strengthens the lower back (lumbar vertebrae and sacrum).

Shalabhasana Locust Pose

Category 

Backbend

Chakra  

Manipura/Solar Plexus Chakra

Meaning

Shalabh refers to a locust.

Benefits of Locust Pose

Regular practice steadily and comfortably within a balanced yoga asana program:

  • Stimulates the Solar Plexus Chakra and therefore stimulates and balances the functions of your stomach, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and pancreas
  • Tones all digestive organs and improves digestion, through abdominal pressure
  • Produces bodily heat and increases digestive fire
  • Helps to control blood sugar levels through stimulating your pancreas
  • Strengthens the biceps and deltoid muscles of your upper arms
  • Strengthens your abdominal and lumbar muscles
  • Strengthens and tones your buttocks and legs
  • Stimulates your reproductive system
  • Improves concentration and helps to relieve stress
  • Relieves hunchback and corrects posture.

Instructions for Locust Pose

How to come into the pose

  1. Lie on your side, interlock your hands tightly in front of you, and push them downward, below your pelvis (keeping your elbows as close as possible).
  2. Rollover to lie on your chest and look forward, chin on the floor.
  3. Keep your feet hip-width or even wider apart.
  4. Inhale and lift both legs off the floor as high as possible, pushing your shoulders and arms into the floor.

Coming out of the pose

  1. Breathe out and gently lower your legs to the floor.
  2. Release your hands and relax into Crocodile Pose.

Alignment Cues for Locust Pose

  • Elbows and wrists are as close as possible.
  • Shoulders are rolled inwards.
  • If you feel pain in your arms or elbows you can place a rolled blanket under your elbows.
  • If you feel the tension in your neck or cannot place your chin flat on the floor, you can place a blanket underneath your chest.
  • You can modify your hand position as follows:
  • Making two fists next to each other or hands flat next to each other with palms facing downward.

Duration of Hold

  • Beginners: 10 seconds
  • Intermediate: 10–20 seconds
  • Advanced: 20–40 seconds

Modifications

  • This is quite an intense and difficult pose. To build up toward it, you can first practice Half-Locust Pose, as explained in the variations section further on in the book.

Cautions and Contra-indications

  • Abdominal issues (e.g. diarrhoea, ulcer, menstrual pains, recent surgery)
  • Shoulder issues
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Neck issues

Relevant Poses

Rest in Crocodile Pose and then move on to Bow Pose – Dhanurasana.

For more yoga asanas and exercises, make sure to visit the Arhanta Yoga Asana Guide!