Half-Locust II-Asymmetrical/Ardha Salabhasana
Locust Pose is beneficial for strengthening your legs and back with an emphasis on strengthening your lower back. Believed also that it tones the entire backside of the body. Can often relieve nerve strains as sciatica if the source is an anterior nerve root compression, symptoms often exaggerated by forward bending which adds further compression.
Lie face down with your legs extended behind you, resting on your forehead and the tops of the feet on the floor hip width apart.
Place the right arm long along side the right ear with the left arm next to the left side of the body, both with palms facing inward and fingers spread, relax the shoulders away from the ears.
Inhale as you press your hips and pelvis into the floor lifting all extremities (except for right leg) long and lean, hold if possible but only if you can maintain full breathing, release on exhale.
Making sure that you keep both hips on the floor rooting the tailbone down while lengthening from the core of the pelvis out through the inseam of the leg which should be straight but not locked.
When lifting elongate from the low belly upward through the crown of the head.
Repeat on each side, reversing arm extension and lifting, 3 to 6x slowing moving with the breath. Any shallow or rapid breathing is a sign of strain so do less.
Do not be concerned if you can only lift your legs a few inches off the floor, it is more important to create length through your legs than to try to lift them higher, visualize the body lengthening through the spine and legs as you stretch your toes away from your hips.
To increase the strengthening power of this pose, instead of releasing all extremities to the floor after the inhale, add a hold at highest position and then do not come all the way down to the floor on the exhale, instead hover as if you can feel the floor is near by but you are not touch it and continue from here on the next inhale.
Flow to: Child’s Pose or any forward bend to release the lower back.
Physical Benefits: Stimulates the abdominal organs , which can help improve digestion. Lengthens the spine. Opens the chest, shoulders and throat. Strengthens the legs, buttocks, shoulders and arms. Tones the abdominal cavity. Stimulates circulation. Increases flexibility. Improves Posture.
Mental Benefits: Reduces stress. Relieves mild depression and anxiety. Energizes the mind.
Counter Pose: Any forward bend. Lying on belly. Child’s Pose.
Adaptations/Variations: Can use a folded blanket under the pelvis to reduce any strain on the lower back.
Can also lift both arms forward with or without lifting both legs or take the arms either to the side or back to also lift with the legs.
To strengthen the latissimus dorsi/middle back plus the back of the arms/triceps, press the hands firmly against the floor as you bring the legs higher.
Contraindications: As you lift your legs be mindful you do not compress your lower back or strain your neck and shoulders. Do not perform this pose if you have back or neck injury (may be able to do variation with forehead on the mat and lift accordingly/keeping eye at the nape of the neck open).
Headache. High Blood Pressure. Pregnancy.