Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Locust Pose, Salabhasana, (Shah-lah-bhaa-suh-nuh)

salabha (locust) + asana (posture)

Also Known as: Locust Pose, Salabhasana, One-legged Locust Pose, Shalabhasana, Salambhasana, Shark Pose

Pose Type: Backbend,  Strengthening, Core Activating

Difficulty: Intermediate

locust pose

Strengthen your back body, stabilize your core, and prepare for deeper backbends with Locust Pose

Locust Pose Fundamentals

Salabhasana may look simple at first glance, but this unassuming pose is sure to challenge you.

Although it is technically a baby backbend, Locust Pose will test your core and strength along with your mental endurance. It’s not uncommon to find yourself wobbling after only a couple of seconds in Locust Pose.

For those that spend a good chunk of their day sitting at a laptop, Locust Pose can serve to open up that upper back, and strengthen your spine supporting muscles for a better posture on and off the mat.

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing locust pose

Benefits of The Locust Pose

  • Improves Posture. Counter the effects of hunched over sitting with this spine aligning pose.
  • Strengthens Back Muscles. You’ll find that Locust Pose uses back muscles all the way along the spine.

How To Do The locust pose: Step-By-Step

locust pose

How To Get There:

1. Begin lying face down on your mat with your hands palm down and reaching back.

2. Engage your quads by pressing down on the mat with the tops of your feet.

3. Leading with your inner thighs, begin to raise your head, chest, and straight legs uo towards the sky. Lift upwards.

4. Keep your neck nice and long, not crunched up, and your shoulders up, back and away from the floor, leading with your chest.

5. Avoid clenching hard with your glutes.

6. Slowly release back to the ground to come out of this pose.

Tips And Tricks

  • If you focus exclusively on lifting up as high as you can, you may feel an uncomfortable pinching in your lower back. Instead, aim to distribute the lift evenly through your lower, mid, and upper back.
  • Keep your legs locked. By bending the knees, you’ll end up putting more pressure on your lower back.

Locust Pose Variations: Half Locust Pose

locust pose with feet down

Lifting all four limbs in Locust Pose can prove to be very intense. Feel free to come into a Half Locust Pose by simply lifting the front body.

As you lift with the chest, keep the tops of your feet firmly planted, and focus on engaging the upper back.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Pregnancy:

Avoid Locust Pose when pregnant as it puts pressure on the belly.

Back Pain:

If you are suffering from back pain or a herniated disk, it may be wise not to perform Locust Pose, as it puts a significant amount of pressure on the lower back.

If you experience a pinching sensation when coming into the pose, ease lower your arms and legs down to a position that is comfortable for you, or come into another pose.

Preparatory Poses

Warrior I Pose

Cobra Pose

Upward Facing Dog Pose

Bridge Pose

Counter Poses

Child’s Pose

Cat Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

Photo of author
Maria Andrews is a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher, long distance runner, and adventure lover. She finds joy in learning, experiencing, and connecting.

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