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Yoga Basics: your guide to the practice of yoga
Backbending Poses arrow Locust
shalabhasana
Level of Difficutly: Intermediate
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Instructions

1. Lie on your belly, with the chin on the floor, legs together and arms alongside the body, 45 degrees away from the sides, with the palms down.

2. Pull up the knee caps, squeeze the thighs and buttocks, engage Mula Bandha, and press the pubic bone down into the floor.

3. Inhale and lift the legs, head, chest, and arms off of the floor. Reach out through the fingers, toes and crown of the head. Keep the neck in line with the spine.

4. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Keep the legs, buttocks, and mula bandha strong, and keep the pubic bone pressing down into the floor.

5. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

6. To release: exhale and slowly lower the chest, head, arms and legs to the floor. Turn the head to one side, slide the arms alongside your body and rest.  Rock the hips from side to side to release any tension in the low back.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Locust pose strengthens the legs and core body while opening the chest and stretching the low back. Locust pose tonifies the kidneys and stimulates the reproductive and digestive systems.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the back, arms or shoulders, pregnancy, menstruation, or recent abdominal surgery.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: A) Place a folded blanket under the hips or place a rolled up blanket or bolster under the thighs. B) Place a rolled blanket under the rib cage.

Variations: To strengthen your low back bring the arms out to the sides or forward over your head.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Cobra, Snake.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose:  Bow, Crocodile.