What Is Shalabhasana (Locust Pose), How To Do It And It's Benefits?

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What Is Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

In the world of yoga shalabhasana is referred as Locust pose where, the body resembles the posture of a locust in flight. Just as a locust rises from the earth with elegance and poise, Shalabhasana allows practitioners to elevate themselves with a sense of grace and purpose.

This asana is a reflection of strength, balance and serenity. This yoga pose derives its name from the Sanskrit words "shala," which means "locust" or "grasshopper," and "asana," which means posture or pose.

Importance of Shalabhasana

This asana symbolize the union of physical and mental harmony. In this asana as the practitioner lift their chest and legs off the ground, create a sensation of lightness and freedom. It is a gentle yet profound reminder of our capacity to overcome obstacles, both in our yoga practice and in life itself.

As we delve into the intricacies of Shalabhasana, we discover not only physical strength but also a deep sense of inner resilience. This asana encourages us to soar above our limitations, embodying a profound sense of liberation and inner radiance.

It is an invitation to explore the beauty of balance and the poetry of motion in our yoga journey, ultimately allowing us to rise like a graceful locust, embracing the beauty of the present moment.

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) Variation With Hands In Reverse

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)  Variation With Feet Up Arms Out

How to do Shalabhasana (Locust Pose): Step-by-Step Guide

Initial pose

1. Begin by lying flat on your stomach (prone position) on a comfortable yoga mat or a soft surface.

2. Place your arms alongside your body, palms facing down, and your forehead resting on the mat. Your legs should be extended straight.

3. Take a few deep breaths to relax and prepare your body for the pose.

Step 1

On an inhalation, engage your abdominal muscles and lift your head, chest, and legs off the mat simultaneously. Keep your neck in line with your spine, and your gaze should be directed forward or slightly upward.

Step 2

Exhale as you continue to lift your legs higher without straining. Imagine lengthening through your spine.

Step 3

Keep your arms straight and strong, pressing your palms into the mat. Your shoulders should be relaxed and away from your ears.

Step 4

Continue to breathe steadily and hold the pose for 20-30 seconds or as long as you are comfortable.

Step 5

To release the pose, gently exhale and lower your head, chest, and legs back to the mat with control.

Step 6

Rest in the prone position for a moment then turn your head to one side and relax your arms and legs.

Infographic of Shalabhasana, the Locust Pose. The practitioner lies prone, lifting legs and upper body off the mat, engaging the back muscles. This backbend strengthens the spine, buttocks, and legs, promoting vitality and flexibility in the practice of yoga.


Shalabhasana׃ Locust Pose Video Tutorial


Locust Pose Variation With Hands In Reverse Video Tutorial


Locust Pose Feet Up Arms Out Video Tutorial


Benefits of Shalabhasana (Locust pose)

when shalabhasana is practiced regularly, it shows immense benefits like:

Treats lower back pain: Shalabhasana targets the muscles of the lower back, helping to strengthen and tone them. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who suffer from chronic lower back pain.

Make spine straight: Regular practice of this pose can help improve posture by strengthening the muscles responsible for maintaining an erect spine.

For flexible the buttocks and thighs muscles: Shalabhasana engages the gluteal and hamstring muscles, which helps to tone and firm the buttocks and thighs.

Enhances Core Strength: While performing Shalabhasana, the abdominal muscles are engaged, contributing to a stronger core.

Stimulates Digestion: The pressure exerted on the abdomen during this pose can help stimulate the digestive organs, potentially aiding in digestion and alleviating digestive discomfort.

Increases Circulation: The lifting of the legs and chest in Shalabhasana can improve blood circulation to the abdominal area and lower back, promoting overall vitality.

Improves mental focus: The need for balance and concentration while practicing Shalabhasana can enhance mental focus and concentration.

No more Sciatica pain: Regular practice of Shalabhasana may help relieve symptoms of sciatica by strengthening the lower back and improving nerve function in the area.

Balances the Nervous System: This pose can have a calming effect on the nervous system, making it beneficial for individuals dealing with stress-related issues.

Aids in Weight Management: The engagement of multiple muscle groups in Shalabhasana can contribute to calorie burn and weight management.

Prepares for Advanced Poses: Shalabhasana is a foundational pose that can prepare the body for more advanced backbends and inversions in yoga practice.

Please note: As with any yoga pose, it's essential to practice Shalabhasana with proper alignment and under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or injuries.

Also Read: How To Do Halasana Yoga (Plow Pose) And What Are Its Benefits

Locust pose or Shalabhasana for Beginners

  • Beginners may initially struggle to lift their legs and upper body very high. That's perfectly fine. Progress will come with practice.
  • If you have lower back issues, be cautious and lift your legs and upper body only as far as you can without causing discomfort or strain.
  • You can also practice a variation of Shalabhasana by lifting one leg at a time, which can be less challenging for beginners.
  • Remember to engage your glutes and lower back muscles to help lift your legs. Avoid using excessive force with your arms.

Who should avoid Shalabhasana or Locust Pose?

  • Avoid Shalabhasana if you have a recent or chronic injury to the lower back, neck, or shoulders.
  • Pregnant individuals should consult a healthcare professional or a qualified yoga instructor before attempting this pose.
  • If you don’t have guidance of any experienced yoga instructor, avoid practicing shalabhasana. This is essential to minimize the risk of injury and to ensure proper alignment.

Also Read: How To Do Kapalbhati Pranayama And What Are Its Benefits?

History: Presence of Shalabhasana in past

Shalabhasana or locust pose has a rich history deeply rooted in ancient yogic traditions. Its origins can be traced back to the practice of Hatha Yoga, one of the foundational branches of yoga that focuses on physical postures and breathing techniques to achieve harmony between mind and body.

Historical context of Shalabhasana:

Shalabhasana falls under the category of Hatha Yoga poses. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, texts the details of Shalabhasana. It is a classic yoga manual written in the 15th century CE by Swatmarama,. This text played a crucial role in preserving and disseminating yoga knowledge.

In the 20th century, yoga got so much popularity in the Western countries. Many influential yoga teachers has standardized shalabhasana including many other yoga poses like B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and T.K.V. Desikachar. Their teachings helped introduce yoga to a global audience.

Shalabhasana today:

Today, Shalabhasana remains a fundamental yoga pose practiced by millions of people worldwide. It is often incorporated into yoga classes, sequences, and routines as a means of strengthening the back, improving posture, and promoting overall physical and mental well-being.

Who should practice shalabhasana on daily basis?

This locust pose is best suited for Athletes, Fitness Enthusiasts, those Aiming for better spinal health, Individuals seeking stress reduction, yoga enthusiasts, sciatica patients, Individuals with Poor Posture, People with weak back muscles etc.

Related reputed references of this article Shalabhasana

"The Hatha Yoga Pradipika": This classic yoga manual, attributed to Swatmarama, is one of the earliest texts that details Hatha Yoga practices, including asanas like Shalabhasana.

Yoga Journals and Magazines: Yoga-focused publications often feature articles on different yoga poses, including Shalabhasana, providing insights into variations, alignment tips, and benefits.

Also Read: What Is Sound Healing? How It Works, Benefits & Frequencies

Anatomy involved in Shalabhasana

At first glance, Salabhasana appears to be an easy pose. But it’s not. It requires significant flexibility and muscular effort to perform, explains Ray Long, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and yoga instructor.

Shalabhasana increases the strength of the muscles that arch the back, such as the erector spine, quadratus Lumborum, lower trapezius gluteus maximus along with the hamstrings.

This asana engage the gluteus maximus extending your hips and lift the femurs. The locust pose contract the hamstrings that is an indication to turn your knees around 10 degrees as you lift your legs away from your floor. As you continue to lift your thighs, and activate your quadriceps muscles to raise your knees, the pelvis is turned to the side and then down.

Also, expanding the back and widening your chest by tightening the erector spinae and quadratus-lumborum muscles, the ankles are bent and feet is positioned to face towards the upward direction.

Also Read: What Is Trikonasana Yoga (Triangle Pose) Benefits And Steps

In this way, a highly helpful shalabhasana is performed from beginners to pro. Hope you find this article helpful. For any assistance or yoga courses, contact us freely via
info@harithayogshala.com. We have a team of experts who will contact you shortly and will clear all your queries.

If you are a beginner in yoga and want to practice yoga on regular basis but don’t know how to start properly and the correct way to perform yoga asana, the yoga for beginner’s course is the perfect option for you. You can join the 100 hour yoga teacher training course from one of the best yoga teacher training in rishikesh.  If you are interested in healing and meditation you can check out the amazing sound healing course in Rishikesh.

All the best for your healthand yogic life!

Frequently Asked Questions

Shalabhasana can be challenging for beginners, especially if they have limited strength in their back and core muscles. It's advisable for beginners to start with modifications and gradually work towards the full pose under the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor.

Individuals with lower back pain should approach Shalabhasana with caution. It's best to consult a healthcare professional or a qualified yoga instructor for guidance. Modifications or alternative poses may be recommended to avoid exacerbating the pain.

Initially, aim to hold Shalabhasana for about 20-30 seconds and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the pose. Avoid overexertion, and focus on maintaining proper alignment.

Shalabhasana is effective for strengthening the muscles of the lower back and the entire core. It engages the rectus abdominis, oblique, and transverse abdominis, helping improve core stability and posture.

Shalabhasana may be definitely helpful for individuals with sciatica by strengthening the lower back and improving nerve function in the area. However, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional and practice the pose cautiously.

Avoid Shalabhasana if you have recent or chronic injuries to the lower back, neck, or shoulders. Pregnant individuals should also exercise caution and consult a healthcare professional or yoga instructor.

For shalabhasana props are generally not used. Some practitioners find it helpful to place a folded blanket or cushion under the hips for added comfort. However, using props is optional and depends on individual preference.

Mild discomfort in the lower back is common, especially when you're new to the pose. However, sharp pain or excessive discomfort is a sign that you may be pushing too hard or using incorrect alignment. Always prioritize safety and back off if you experience pain.

To progress in Shalabhasana, work on gradually lifting your legs and upper body higher off the ground over time. Additionally, consider practicing the pose regularly to build strength and flexibility in the required muscle groups.

Yes, Shalabhasana can be incorporated into various yoga sequences or routines focusing on back strengthening and flexibility. It often complements poses like Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) and Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) in a backbending sequence.

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