Salabhasana is the locust pose. This is another prone backbend, which gradually arches the back.
Lie on the belly, with the legs together and extended. Stretch into the toes. Reach the arms out in front on the floor, with the palms facing each other. Stretch into the fingertips. Inhale the breath, exhale as you firm your abdominals. Keeping the abdominals firm, inhale, and lift and extend the arms and legs. Keep breathing and lengthening into the fingers and toes (refer to FIGURE 13-32,). Think of lengthening your front body without shortening your back body.
The head should be between the arms and at arm height. If the head is higher than the arms, the back of the neck will be shortened. After several breaths, exhale and release the pose. Rest on your belly with your head to the side. Repeat two more times.
You can also start Salabhasana more gradually, to build up strength and stamina. First, inhale and lift the head (at arm height) and one arm. Exhale and release down. Then do the other arm (refer to FIGURE 13-33,). Next the right arm lifts with the left leg and then raise the left arm with the right leg (SEE FIGURE 13-34,). The arms and legs can be raised separately. Lastly, raise the same arm with the same leg. Remember to lengthen and lift for extension, not for height or contraction of the lower back muscles.
Change the arm position. Bring the arms out to the side or clasped behind you, holding onto a belt. Stretch the chest up, and draw the shoulder blades into the back of the body.
The benefits of Salabhasana include the following:
It creates a long curve of the spine.
It strengthens the entire backside.
It stimulates the spleen and the pancreas.