Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
How to do it
Begin on your stomach, feet hip distance apart, forearms on the floor.
Inhale: Lift your chest and your legs up, keeping your feet hip-distance apart.
Exhale: Move back down, placing your legs and your chest on the floor.
Repeat this movement several times and then stay in the pose.
Breathing in Salabhasana
Inhale: Lengthen through the front of your body and lift your chest and your legs a bit more.
Exhale: Anchor through your pelvis and lower your upper body and legs slightly.
TRICK: Keep your pelvis leveled and grounded throughout the movement.
Salabhasana: Elbows up increases the curve of the upper back, which means that you will have to work a little harder and will engage your upper back a bit more. You will also stretch your chest more. The trick is to avoid pushing with your hands and pull the elbows back instead – that way you won’t stress the lower back, shoulders or neck.
Salabhasana: Arms back emphasizes the stretch in the chest and shoulders, while strengthening the upper back. If you keep your palms facing each other, you will rotate your shoulders internally, which is a postition that we have our shoulders in most often. If you turn your arms so that your elbows are facing in, you will rotate your shoulders externally, which is useful for stretching the fronts of the shoulders and strengthening the entire shoulder girdle.
Arms out feet together
Salabhasana: Arms out, feet together is a strong posture that engages the entire posterior (back) surface of the body and stretches the chest. Your body has to work harder because your pelvis is the only point of contact with the floor, which means that large skeletal muscles have to work hard to lift you into the pose, and smaller muscles have to work to stabilize and prevent you from tipping one way or the other. Squeezing your legs together engages your inner thighs and strengthens the muscles that support your sacrum.
Both arms both legs
Salabhasana: Both arms, both legs is one of the hardest versions of this pose, because it requires a lot of back strength to keep both your arms and you legs raised off the floor. Keeping the arms extended forward increases the load on the neck and upper back, so be sure to keep the head in line with the spine to avoid neck tension. Moving in and out of the pose first helps to mobilize the shoulders and prepare them for holding the pose later.
Salabhasana: Classic is a tough pose that requires a lot of back strength. It is also potentially problematic for your neck and shoulders, because it is easy to tense those areas when you attempt this pose. If you ever teach/practice this pose, make sure to adequately prepare your back, neck, shoulders and glutes for it, and then compensate accordingly.