Locust Pose to Strengthen Your Back

Locust pose, also known as Salabhasana, is an excellent yoga pose to teach glute work and upper thoracic extension. These actions are crucial for maintaining a healthy spine. Sometimes, when the upper spine is rigid or when the glutes don’t fire when they’re supposed to, the low back tries to do the work and can end up injured. By building the strength of your glutes and the flexibility of your thoracic spine, you will potentially save yourself from low back pain.

The key to performing the pose correctly is abdominal engagement. Yes, you read that correctly. Your abdominals will help you do your back exercise correctly.

Without stability from your abdominals, your glutes can quit working and your upper thoracic spine can stiffen. Unfortunately, even people with the best body/mind connections can sometimes miss when these muscles quit working. And, when they do quit working, it is the low back that takes over the work load.

So, as you do this pose, make sure that you activate your abdominals. Use them to assist your glutes and spinal extensors to make the most out of this back extension pose.

Locust Pose Prep

  1. Use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Begin on your stomach.
  3. Ideally, your legs should be parallel and together. When your legs are in parallel, your kneecaps will be flat on the mat. If you cannot keep your legs together and in parallel or if you have low back or SI joint issues, put some space between your legs. It is essential that your legs are parallel. Also, please be sure to honor your body; don’t put yourself into any situations that cause pain.
  4. Reach your arms by your sides with your fingers spread and palms up.
  5. Take a moment to broaden your collarbones and ensure that your shoulder blades are in neutral on your back.
  6. Send energy from the top of your head through the tips of your toes, reaching in opposite directions.
  7. Locust poseInhale and engage your abdominals. Feel your belly lift toward your spine. Then, activate your adductors (inner thighs). Remember, for many people, there is a connection between the abdominals and the adductors; working one may help you work the other.
  8. Exhale and use your glutes to lift your legs off the ground.
  9. Keep your legs lifted as you breathe. As you inhale, lengthen; as you exhale, soften.
  10. Take 3-5 full breaths.
  11. Lower on the last exhale.

Locust Pose

With Locust pose, you do all of Locust pose prep and additionally lift the upper body. If you lose your abdominal activation, it may lead to over-lifting the upper body and causing back strain. Make sure to keep abdominal activation your top priority throughout this pose. Engaging your adductors can help your abdominals work throughout.

  1. Locust poseFollow steps 1-6.
  2. Inhale and engage your abdominals. Feel your belly lift toward your spine. Then, activate your adductors (inner thighs). Remember, for many people, there is a connection between the abdominals and the adductors; working one may help you work the other.
  3. Exhale and use your glutes to lift your legs off the ground and extend your upper thoracic spine (upper back). From a side view, you should look like a smiley face with your head and feet lifted to comparable levels. Think about letting your upper back soften and your heart rotate forward as you hold.
  4. Hold and breathe. As you inhale, lengthen; as you exhale, soften.
  5. Take 3-5 full breaths.
  6. Lower on the last exhale.

Locust Pose Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

Can you feel your heart rotate forward when you do Locust pose? Let us know what you think about Locust pose in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi! I'm Sarah, and I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. When I'm not working with clients, I'm researching the best ways to get rid of pain. Do you want to learn how to practice yoga and Pilates safely in your own home? Or, do you want to know all my tips and tricks for pain relief? Join my mailing list and receive free goodies to help you.

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