Shalabhasana or the Locust Pose: For strengthening lower back muscles

By Atul Vyas 

Weakness of back muscles is one of the major causes of back ache. The muscles of the back are built up in layers around the skeleton. These muscles are involved with stabilizing and moving the torso. Around each of the spinal joints, there is a group of muscles. End of each muscle is firmly attached to a different bone, either directly or by means of a tough band of fibrous tissue called tendon. Muscles usually are in pairs: when one muscle contracts, the opposite muscle relaxes.

The muscles which are close to the joints between the vertebrae are clusters of small muscles that contract to allow for subtle alterations of movement. These muscles are known as stabilizers, because of their central role in positioning of the spine.

The long strong muscles which are superficially visible and control the major movements of the trunk are called mobilizers, and the other group of  muscles are ‘erector spinae,’ and abdominal muscles across the front and side of the body.

These muscles need a good supply of blood. If a muscle goes into spasm in reaction to pain or strain and becomes contracted, its blood supply is reduced. If this lack of supply continues, the muscles may become weak and less elastic. So muscles need exercise in order to stay strong.

If they have been contracted for long periods to maintain a certain posture e.g. sitting at desk, regular stretching and exercise is must as it not only distress and relaxes these muscles but maintain their health and tone.

A weak muscle easily comes in spasm even with little strain or stress.

This muscle spasm in back muscles causes back ache and is a major cause of backache. There are many exercises for strengthening weak back muscles. One of them is “Shalabhasana or locust pose”.

Unlike any other yoga poses which are done slowly, locust pose is done by making one single powerful muscle contraction similar to that of locust jumping. This brings together thought, breath, movement and prana. But beginners should use breath and slow movements.

Technique for Beginners

  • Lie down on your stomach with arms by your side
  • Keep arms underneath your thighs
  • Inhale slowly and raise one leg off the ground, keeping it straight unto your comfortable limit
  • Hold for five seconds then lower it
  • Repeat the same with the other leg
  • Repeat it with both the legs simultaneously

Benefits

  • This pose strengthen lower back and buttock muscles
  • It tones liver, pancreas, and kidney
  • Relieves constipation
  • It develops strong will power
  • Spine becomes elastic
  • Relieves pain in sacral and lumbar regions
  • Benefits prostate gland and keep it healthy

The author likes to be called a “Yoga Scientist”. He is a celebrity yoga trainer and has trained several top Hollywood and Bollywood stars. He has trained for years under many eminent yoga gurus including his illustrious mother Daya Vyas, the first lady yoga guru of India.

Images courtesy of (Image: Yoga) and Provided

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