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Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Locust Pose, or Salabhasana, is a powerful backbend that strengthens and rejuvenates the entire back of the body. It's a perfect balance of effort and relaxation, providing a dynamic stretch while promoting mental focus and inner calm. Let's delve into the details of this invigorating pose, exploring its meaning, benefits, and how to practice it with mindful intention.

Locust Pose

Locust Pose is a prone backbend that involves lifting the legs, chest, and arms off the floor while lying on your stomach. This pose is designed to strengthen the back muscles, improve posture, and increase overall body awareness. It’s often used in yoga sequences to prepare the body for deeper backbends and to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting.

The name "Salabhasana" comes from the Sanskrit words "Salabha," meaning locust, and "Asana," meaning pose. The pose mimics the shape of a locust or grasshopper, symbolizing strength, determination, and the ability to rise above challenges.

The pronunciation of Salabhasana is "sha-LAH-bahs-uh-nuh." Breaking it down:

  • "Salabha" sounds like "sha-LAH-buh"

  • "Asana" sounds like "ah-suh-nuh"

Anatomy of Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Locust Pose primarily targets the following areas:

  • Spine: Strengthens and increases flexibility in the spine.

  • Back Muscles: Engages and tones the entire back, including the erector spinae muscles.

  • Glutes: Strengthens the gluteal muscles.

  • Hamstrings: Stretches and strengthens the hamstrings.

  • Shoulders and Arms: Engages the shoulders and upper arms.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana): Steps and Instructions

  1. Start on Your Stomach: Lie face down on your mat with your legs extended and your arms resting alongside your body, palms facing down.

  2. Engage Your Core: Press your pubic bone into the mat and engage your core muscles to support your lower back.

  3. Lift Your Chest and Legs: On an inhalation, lift your chest, arms, and legs off the floor. Keep your neck in line with your spine and gaze slightly forward.

  4. Reach Back with Your Arms: Extend your arms straight back, palms facing the floor, or interlace your fingers behind your back for a deeper stretch.

  5. Hold the Pose: Maintain the lift, keeping your body strong and engaged. Breathe deeply and evenly.

  6. Release: On an exhalation, gently lower your chest, arms, and legs back to the floor. Turn your head to one side and rest.

Locust Pose

When to Do It

Locust Pose can be practiced at any point during your yoga session. It’s particularly beneficial after a warm-up sequence or as part of a series of backbends. Incorporate it into your practice to strengthen your back and improve posture.

Preparatory Poses

Before practicing Locust Pose, warm up with these poses:

  • Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana): To mobilize the spine and prepare the back muscles.

  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): To gently warm up the back and shoulders.

  • Child’s Pose (Balasana): To relax and stretch the spine.

Follow Up Poses

After Locust Pose, consider transitioning into these poses:

  • Child’s Pose (Balasana): To relax and counteract the backbend.

  • Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): To stretch the back and shoulders.

  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): To lengthen the spine and hamstrings.


Locust Pose is primarily associated with the Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra. Located around the navel, this chakra is linked to personal power, confidence, and energy. Practicing Salabhasana can help activate and balance the Solar Plexus Chakra, fostering a sense of strength and determination.

Solar Plexus Chakra

Mantra for This Pose

A powerful mantra to chant while in Locust Pose is "Ram," the bija (seed) mantra for the Solar Plexus Chakra. This mantra enhances the pose’s energizing and empowering effects, promoting confidence and inner strength.


Alignment Cues

  • Engage the Core: Keep your core muscles engaged to support your lower back.

  • Lift Evenly: Lift your chest, arms, and legs to the same height for balanced engagement.

  • Extend Through the Crown: Lengthen through the crown of your head to keep your neck aligned with your spine.

  • Relax Shoulders: Avoid tensing your shoulders; keep them relaxed and away from your ears.

  • Reach Back: Extend your arms straight back or interlace your fingers for a deeper stretch.

Duration of Hold

Hold Locust Pose for 20 to 30 seconds, focusing on deep, steady breaths. As you build strength and endurance, you can gradually increase the duration.

Drishti (Gaze)

In Locust Pose, your drishti, or gaze, can be directed slightly forward on the floor. This helps maintain neck alignment and encourages focus.

Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Physically, Locust Pose enhances strength, improves posture, and increases flexibility in the spine. Spiritually, it encourages empowerment and resilience, inviting you to rise above challenges with determination and grace. This pose helps to cultivate a sense of inner strength and confidence, both on and off the mat.

Beginners’ Tips

  • Start Slowly: Begin with smaller lifts and gradually increase the height as you build strength.

  • Use a Blanket: Place a folded blanket under your hips for added support and comfort.

  • Modify Arm Position: Keep your arms alongside your body if extending them back feels challenging.

Who Should Not Do It

  • Back Injuries: Avoid if you have severe back issues or chronic pain.

  • Pregnancy: This pose is not recommended during pregnancy.

  • Neck Problems: Use caution if you have neck issues or significant neck pain.

Who Should Do It

  • Desk Workers: To counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and poor posture.

  • Athletes: For back strength and flexibility.

  • Anyone Seeking Empowerment: To boost confidence and inner strength.

Benefits of Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Physical Benefits

  • Strengthens the Back: Enhances strength in the back muscles, improving posture and reducing back pain.

  • Tones Glutes and Hamstrings: Engages and tones the glutes and hamstrings.

  • Opens the Chest: Improves respiratory function and opens the chest.

  • Enhances Flexibility: Promotes flexibility in the spine and shoulders.

  • Improves Digestion: Stimulates abdominal organs, aiding digestion.

Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Reduces Stress: Promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety.

  • Boosts Mood: Encourages a positive mindset and emotional balance.

  • Increases Energy: Invigorates the body and mind, reducing feelings of fatigue.

Variations of Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

  • Full Locust Pose (Purna Salabhasana): Lift both the upper body and legs higher for a more intense stretch.

  • Half Locust Pose (Ardha Salabhasana): Lift one leg at a time to focus on balance and alignment.

  • Bound Locust Pose (Baddha Salabhasana): Interlace your fingers behind your back for a deeper shoulder stretch.

Modifications for Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

  • Use a Blanket: Place a folded blanket under your hips for added support.

  • Keep Legs on the Floor: If lifting both legs is challenging, keep one leg on the floor and lift the other.

  • Support with Arms: Use your hands for support by keeping them on the floor alongside your body.

Common Mistakes

  • Overarching the Lower Back: Avoid excessive arching by engaging your core muscles.

  • Tension in the Neck: Keep your neck relaxed and avoid straining.

  • Uneven Lift: Ensure your chest, arms, and legs are lifted evenly for balanced engagement.

Safety and Precautions

  • Warm Up Properly: Always warm up your body before practicing Locust Pose to avoid injury.

  • Listen to Your Body: Do not push into pain; ease off if you feel any discomfort.

  • Use Props: Modify the pose with props to ensure proper alignment and support.

Additional Preparation Tips

Direction to Face While Doing This Pose and Why

Face east during your practice, traditionally associated with new beginnings and positive energy in yoga.

What to Wear for This Pose

Wear comfortable, stretchy clothing that allows freedom of movement. Avoid overly loose garments that might bunch up during the pose.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance

Practice in a quiet, clean space. Enhance the experience with uplifting essential oils like peppermint or grounding scents like cedarwood.

Music for This Pose

Choose soothing, gentle music or nature sounds to create a peaceful atmosphere and help you focus inward.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana) is a transformative posture that offers numerous physical and mental benefits. Whether you’re looking to strengthen your back, improve your posture, or find a moment of empowerment in your practice, this pose provides a holistic approach to wellness. By practicing mindfulness and proper alignment, you can unlock the full potential of Salabhasana, embracing both its physical and spiritual gifts. So, roll out your mat, breathe deeply, and let the strength and grace of Locust Pose inspire and rejuvenate you.

Happy Yoga-ing!


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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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