Backward Bends


Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Locust Pose
Level: All levels

Shalabha = a grasshopper or locust.

The important thing in this pose is to create length in the back of the body rather than pressing the head and legs up towards the ceiling, which will only shorten and crunch into the lumbar area of the lower back.

Organizing the Pose


  1. Lie flat on the floor on the belly with the arms by the sides and the legs together.
  2. Press the legs together and stretch them out.
  3. Roll the shoulders up towards the ceiling to open the chest and turn the palms to face up.
  4. Exhale and lift everything up off the floor creating as much length in the body as possible.
  5. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Exhale and release down with control.

Practice Points


  • Soften and widen the buttocks and the backs of the thighs.
  • Lengthen the tailbone towards the feet.
  • Lift with the inner thighs.
  • Press the palms up.
  • Widen the collarbones and shoulder blades.
  • Reach the legs and arms back away from the head.
  • Lengthen the sides of the waist and chest towards the head.
  • Soften and widen the back of the neck.