Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

Salabhasana (Locust Pose)


What is Salabhasana (Locust Pose)?

 Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

Salabhasana or Locust Pose is a backbend prepping yoga asana, and it also works to open up your chest muscles as well as the essential chakras. Plus, this pose can improve core stability so you can perform deeper backbends with regular practice. 

Locust pose is grouped among the backbend family. This posture activates deep tissues inside your spine, tailbone, and abdomen. As a result, you can build strength in your lower back, spine, and legs with consistent practice of this pose. 

In Sanskrit, Shalabh means "Grasshopper," and Asana means "Pose." This prone backbend posture is named after the shape of a Locust or Grasshopper. 

Even though it is a Hatha Yoga pose, there is no description of Locust Pose in ancient Hatha Yoga texts. 

But we can find a detailed description of this pose in the 1960 book Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnudevananda, founder of Sivananda Yoga, and 1966 book Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar. 

Sanskrit Name: शलभासन                      Pronunciation: sha-la-BAHS-anna

Pose Type: Backbend, Chest Opener      Also known as: Locust Pose 

Strengthens: Arm, Legs, Lower Back, Abdomen, Glutes, Spine, and Neck

Stretches: Abdomen, Thorax, Navel, Quadriceps, and Lower Back

Health Benefits of Salabhasana

  • Improves digestion-related functions. 

  • Heals digestive problems like constipation and IBS.

  • Improves flexibility of the spinal cord.

  • Lowers mild pain around the back, neck, and shoulders.  

  • Activates the Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, and Heart Chakras. 

  • Improves range of motion in the tailbone and lower back. 

  • Provides a deep tissue massage to the abdominal organs.

When to Avoid Performing Salabhasana

  • Avoid this pose if you lack breath control.

  • Avoid if you have asthma, heart, or blood pressure problems. 

  • Avoid if you have had any recent abdomen, back, or pelvis surgery.  

  • Avoid during pregnancy, six months post-pregnancy, and menstruation.

  • Avoid if you have a hernia, ulcers, degenerated disc disease, spinal injury, or neck injury.

How to do Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

The whole practice of successfully getting into Salabhasana is divided into four different parts: 

Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Salabhasana

First, it’s important to warm up the shoulders, neck, spine, lower back, and legs in preparation of Locust pose. Start with a few dynamic body stretches and then slowly move into performing the following yoga asanas for complete body activation: 

1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) - If you are working out in the morning right after waking up, performing the Surya Namaskar flow will activate blood circulation in the legs, spine, and upper body. 

Surya Namaskar

Perform sun salutations for a minimum of 10 to 12 rounds and let your muscles open up. This way, your muscles, ligaments, and joints will be safe from any unwanted injury. 

2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) - If you feel tightness in your lower back, cobra pose can help ease the tension. Lie down with your belly on the ground and legs spread out behind. Make sure your core and glutes are tight. 


Now, place your arms close to your chest and inhale deeply as you lift your upper body off the mat. Keep a slight bend in your arms, and hold this backbend stretch for a few seconds, and then gently release this pose. 

3. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose) - This posture is very similar to cobra pose, but your muscles will flex even deeper because your body is not resting on the ground. 

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

The only difference between the upward-facing dog pose and the cobra pose is that you lift your knees off the mat and keep your body weight on your palms and toes. Hold this pose for a few seconds.

Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Salabhasana 

The locust pose can help lengthen and extend your spine and strengthens your deep core and back muscles.

This pose can provide therapeutic benefits to your lower back if you follow the below-mentioned cues carefully:

Step 1- Lie on your belly with your legs extended, and your arms stacked under your head. Rest your head on your forearms. 

Step 2- Keep your legs close to each other and breathe mindfully. 

Step 3- With an inhale, extend your arms to your sides and lift your lower legs off the mat, keeping your upper legs (thighs and core) flat on the mat.

Step 4- Engage your glutes and press both legs together while holding them up. 

Step 5- Rest your upper body on your chin and hold this position here for 3 to 5 full breaths. 

Step 6- If you feel strong, lift your chin and chest off the mat, and hold the position for 3 to 5 deep breaths again. 

Breath Awareness: 

  • Inhale deeply as you lift up your legs.

  • Keep inhaling and exhaling slowly while holding the pose. 

  • Exhale slowly as you release the pose and place your legs back on the ground.  

Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold the locust pose for 20-60 seconds. 

Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold the locust pose for 1 to 3 minutes.

Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind

It’s important to keep a few things in mind before starting the locust pose practice: 

  • Engage the abdomen: In order to lift your legs like a grasshopper, your core muscles must be engaged and stable.

If you are unable to lift your legs, you may lack core and lower back strength. If that’s the case, try practicing some core strengthening asanas before your main practice. 

  • Do not overwork your lower back: Over-flexing around the tailbone while your legs are raised can cause lower back discomfort and pain later on. This can also lead to injury, so try not to push your body beyond its limits. 

Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Salabhasana 

It’s essential to decompress your whole spine after any backbend asana, so make sure to end your Salabhasana practice with these follow-up yoga poses: 

1. Advasana (Reverse Corpse Pose): From Salabhasana, place your legs on the mat and rest your forehead on the ground as you get into the reverse corpse pose. 


This pose is best for coming back into a neutral state after flexing the lower back for prolonged durations. Focus on your breath and slowly feel the tension leaving your body. 

2. Uttana Shishosana (Puppy Dog Pose): From Advasana, move your arms and legs into a tabletop position. Slowly walk your hands out and push your hips halfway back towards your heels. 

Uttana Shishosana

Because this pose is a heart-melting restorative yoga pose, you will feel a calming stretch in your upper back, neck, shoulders, and arms. It will also release any excess tension around your lower back. 

3. Adho Mukha Virasana (Forward Bend Hero Pose): Move your legs from the puppy dog pose into the hero pose stance. Place your torso and rib cage down between your legs and rest your head on the ground. 

Adho Mukha Virasana

Stretch both your arms forward and feel a deeper stretch from your lower back to your upper body. Hold this relaxed pose until your lower back aligns back to its normal shape. 

Salabhasana Modifications and Props

Salabhasana is a great way to help keep your spine healthy and improve flexibility, and these modifications can help you achieve those goals faster: 

  • Locust Pose with Bend Legs: If it’s hard to lift both your legs together, rather than flexing both your legs back straight in the air, try bending both your legs, then engage your core and lift your legs. 

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  • Half-Locust Pose: If it’s hard to raise both your legs together, try to lift one leg at a time. Place your hands under your abs, engage your core, and lift one leg straight in the air in this modification. 

Half-Locust Pose

Hold this half pose for a few breaths, then release and repeat the same on the other side.  

  • Locust Pose with Yoga Wheel: If you struggle to hold both the legs up in the air, try adding a yoga therapy wheel to your practice. Simply rest your upper body on your chin, place the wheel under your lower abdomen and push both your legs up in the air. 

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Holding this prop-assisted posture for a few minutes will build strength in your lower core muscles for the main practice. 

Salabhasana Variations to Consider

Depending upon experience performing Salabhasana, the following are some different asana variations you can try to either improve your posture or challenge your body. 

1. Salabhasana with Resting Legs: If it’s challenging to raise either of your legs, try building posture awareness in your body first with the Locust pose. 

Salabhasana with Resting Legs

Just lift your upper body with your spine and keep both arms flexed at the back. Rest your legs on the ground and concentrate on engaging your lower body. 

2. Salabhasana with Elbows Bent: To develop core strength for raising both legs, try placing your palms close to your chest. 

Salabhasana with Elbows Bent

Push onto the floor with your palms to lift your upper body and then lift both your legs up. If it's not possible for you to lift your legs higher, you can limit your tail bones' range of motion in this Salabhasana variation.

3. Locust Pose Bound Hands: If you are an advanced practitioner and want to challenge yourself in the Locust pose, try the bounded arms variation. 

Locust Pose Bound Hands

Here, your legs are flexing back in the air, and your arms are bound and raised in the air. This pose activates the lower back, plus it helps in opening your chest muscles.

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Level-Up Poses After Salabhasana for Advanced Yogis

Once you have mastered all of the essential poses for your full Salabhasana posture, you are now ready to elevate your yoga practice with some advanced backbend poses, like the following: 

Level-Up Pose 1 - Vimanasana (Superman Pose)

Level-Up Pose 2 - Viparita Salabhasana (Inverted Locust Pose)

Level-Up Pose 3 - Viparita Salabhasana (Inverted Locust Pose with Rollover Legs)

Level-Up Pose 4 - Ganda Bherundasana (Chin Stand Pose)

Vimanasana (Superman Pose)

Vimanasana (Superman Pose)

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Viparita Salabhasana (Inverted Locust Pose)

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Viparita Salabhasana (Inverted Locust Pose with Rollover Legs)

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Ganda Bherundasana (Chin Stand Pose)

Similar Backbend Poses like Salabhasana

The following is a list of some deep backbend yoga poses to enhance your yoga practice: 

  1. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) 

  2. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-facing Dog Pose)

  3. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

  4. Chakrasana (Wheel Pose)

  5. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

  6. Kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

Frequently Asked Questions about Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

What are the benefits of Salabhasana?

What is Ardha Salabhasana?

Can beginners perform Viparita Salabhasana?

What is the meaning of Salabhasana?

How do you cue Salabhasana?

How long should you hold the Locust Pose?

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