Lori Whitby of Slave Lake Smiling Dog Yoga says to start ‘locust pose’ lie on your belly with your arms along the sides of your torso.
“With palms facing you and your forehead resting on your mat, engage the legs and the buttocks as if you are pressing the pelvis into the ground,” she says. “As you gather strength on the core and lift the tops of the feet off the mat, then the knees, then maybe the thighs. At the same time gently lift the forehead, upper torso and arms off the mat.” Whitby adds, “Raise your arms up off the mat a few inches and reach through your fingertips. Keep your gaze down at your mat to make sure you keep the neck in line with the spine. Once in a comfortable locust, feel yourself lengthen out through the fingers, toes and crown of the head.”
Hold for 10 seconds up to one minute, then release with an exhalation. Take a few breaths and repeat one or two times more if you like.
Please talk to your doctor before doing this pose if you have had a serious back or neck injury or have had recent abdominal surgery.
Modifications and props:
Add padding under the pelvis with a folded blanket, pillow or yoga. To help you get higher when you are beginning, place a rolled up blanket or yoga bolster between the hip bones and lower ribs, adjust for your comfort.
While building strength, lift legs alternately, For example, if you want to hold the pose for a total of one minute, first lift the right leg off the floor for 30 seconds, then the left leg for 30 seconds. You can lift just the torso or just the legs or press the hands into the mat to help give yourself a bit of a lift.
Make it more challenging:
If your shoulders and chest will allow it clasp the hands behind your back. If your back will allow it, reach the arms out in front of you.
Strengthens the muscles of the spine, buttocks, and backs of the arms and legs, opens up the chest, can improve posture.
Pictured above is yoga helper Ayla demonstrating ‘locust pose’