Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
Salabha = locust · Asana = Pose
Strengthens lower back muscles; tones abdominal muscles while stimulating organs; improves posture
1. Lie on your belly with your legs straight. Place your arms at your sides with palms up, your chin gently resting on the floor.
2. Without lifting your legs or head, begin reaching forward through the top of your head and back through your toes. As your body lengthens, you’ll activate your major back muscles, including your erector spinae muscles—creating a stable base of support.
3. Continue reaching forward with the top of your head and backward with your toes, slowly lifting your head, shoulders, and legs off the ground. Pull your legs together. As you gain height, you should feel elongation and elevation—this will help strengthen your back while keeping it safe and stable. Lift until you begin to feel a natural resistance—you should feel activated from head to toe and without strain. Your breath should be flowing easily. Now imagine that you’re drawing a line up the wall in front of you with the top of your head and one behind you with your toes—all while maintaining an elongation of your entire body.
4. Keep the backs of your hands rooted to the earth with a gentle, downward pushing action as you extend your arms. Imagine that your fingers are growing in length, reaching and sliding along the floor toward the back of the mat while being pulled down to the earth. Hold for about 5 breaths (you can increase this amount over time).
5. To exit the pose, maintain elongation as you simultaneously lower your head, shoulders, and legs to the floor.
See also Cobra Pose
Avoid These Common Mistakes
Don’t raise your shoulders toward your ears, which can strain neck muscles.
Don’t bend your knees, which will compromise the action of your legs and add pressure to your lower back by distributing too much weight to your lower vertebrae.
About Our Pro
Teacher and model David Swenson began teaching yoga in 1972 and today is recognized as one of the world’s foremost instructors of Ashtanga Yoga. He is one of a handful of people worldwide who has learned the entire Ashtanga system as originally taught by K. Pattabhi Jois. Swenson has produced eight Ashtanga Yoga DVDs and is the author of Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual, which has been translated into 14 languages.