An unassuming posture, Salabhasana, Locust Pose, is surprisingly challenging with a few different variations to practice.
I personally love the clasped hands variation, opening up across the front of the chest, and I often use it as a warm up for Cobra Pose. In fact, most teachers incorporate some variation of the pose into their sequencing (it’s that good).
Chances are that you’re already doing Locust Pose in your yoga classes; however, the backbend has so many great benefits and is simple enough to do on your own. You you might as well do it every day. Here are five reasons why.
1. Strengthens Your Core and Back Muscles
Locust Pose takes a remarkable amount of effort to lift off the floor and stay there for a few breaths. It strengthens your core and the entire back of the body.
Not only is Salabhasana one of the best poses for strengthening the back muscles (especially the low back), it’s also one of the safest. So much so that a gentle variation of the pose is often prescribed for low back pain and mild sciatica in yoga and physical therapy.
The pose isn’t about lifting as high as possible, so don’t strain your back muscles going for height. As your back strengthens, you will easily lift higher. Practice Salabhasana daily, and you’ll be soaring in no time!
2. Lengthens the Spine and Opens the Chest
A simple backbend, and one of the first you will learn, Locust Pose actively extends the spine while protecting the lumbar curve.
The majority of what we do all day long--whether that’s sitting at a desk, in a car, riding a bike, holding a baby, cooking meals, etc.--brings our spine into flexion and often closes of the chest.
Salabhasana opens the chest and lengthens the back while strengthening. The deep core muscles that support the spine also get a good training in this posture. Additionally, the pose keeps the spine flexible.
3. Tones Your Butt and Hamstrings
Along with your core and back muscles, Salabhasana is also a great way to tone your butt, inner thighs, and hamstrings. Lifting the legs and extending the hips in Locust Pose activates the glutes, adductors, hamstrings, and even your calves.
A few rounds of Salabhasana (actively coming in and out of the pose) dynamically conditions your legs and glutes. The gluteus maximus contracts and strengthens on the way up, and lengthens and relaxes as you lower down.
4. Massages Abdominal Organs and Improves Digestion
While Salabhasana strengthens the abdominal muscles, it also tones the abdominal organs such as the kidney, liver, and spleen. The pressure applied to these areas also gives the organs a nice massage.
The pose is known to relieve constipation and indigestion, and is a great way to move things around and get the digestive processes not only going but also functioning more optimally.
5. Promotes Calmness and Improves Focus
Locust Pose is a full body energizer that instantly narrows your focus for a few breaths, leaving you calm yet alert when you come down.
It really is a cool feeling and a quick pick me up when you feel your energy start to drain or when that fogginess creeps into your brain.
A few Locust Poses a day will strengthen your back, improve your postures, keep your spine supple, help with digestion, and invigorate your day! Make it part of your routine!