One of the very best yoga poses to do every day is locust (Salabhasana). In my gentle mat and chair classes, I teach a few variations of it. Here’s why it’s so great:
Locust pose is a back bend and backward bending poses stimulate and tone the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response in the body). It energizes the body and helps to improve focus.
Practicing locust pose involves core strength. As we engage the core muscles, we’re also lengthening and extending the entire spine, thus strengthening the back muscles, particularly the low back. Keep in mind while trying this pose that it’s mostly about the lengthening versus the lifting and keeping the neck long (because every body is different, we’re not going to necessarily look like the picture above).
Some other amazing benefits of this pose are that it opens the chest, which we all often collapse during the day due to our posture and how much time we spend sitting. Depending upon the version of locust (arms behind and parallel to the mat), we’re getting some nice retraction of the scapula — a good movement for the rotator cuff. Locust is great for strengthening the gluteal muscles in the butt that support the back, and it tones the inner thighs, hamstrings, adductors and calf muscles. For these reasons and more, it is often “prescribed” in PT for low back pain and improving posture.
As we move into this asana or posture, we put our body weight and balance into our abdomen (if practicing the mat version) so the internal organs get a massage and we activate our digestive system, getting everything moving along effectively.
Are you ready for a locust a day? It may keep the doctor away.