I personally attribute this pose with helping me to heal a lifetime of back pain, which is, in fact, what brought me to yoga. In the beginning I could barely lift up off the ground, and couldn’t sustain the lift for any length of time. I wasn’t in touch with these muscles at all!
Over time there was a gradual increase in both my ability to lift up and to sustain the hold. Nowadays, even though my lift off isn’t anything to brag about, I find this pose very effortless and could hold it almost indefinitely. Since I have a mild form of scoliosis, this feels like an important accomplishment for me. And keeping my back muscles toned and balanced is something I definitely pay attention to.
There are a whole lot of arm variations for this pose, some of which make the pose more challenging, some less so.
Here are a few arm variations to try:
Arms straight overhead framing head…this variations requires the most strength and flexibility.
Hands on floor beside waist, bent at elbow, fingertips pointed forward (hands draw back without actually moving).
You can also make up your own…or do several arm variations as a mini arm vinyasa while lifted.
This pose is a wonderful way to counter the effects of computer time. It improves posture by strengthening and activating your posture muscles. By taking this back bend you’ll return your body to balance after the forward bending of sitting.
Remember to reach long, not higher in the pose. The height will come over time as you get stronger. Rushing this process can create tension and possibly injury to back and neck areas.
Below are some additional details about this asana…as usual, download the pdf of this tip sheet at the bottom of this post.
asana name = salabhasana (pronounced, SHA-la-BHA-sa-na)
- salabha = grasshopper, locust
- asana = seat
- Builds strength and flexibility in back.
- May relieve some back pain and sciatica.
- Stimulates all abdominal organs, improving digestion.
- Strengthens muscles of shoulders, legs and core.
- Stimulates the svadhisthana chakra.
- Back, spinal or neck injuries
- Pregnancy, menses
- Allow legs to stay on mat to lower intensity.
- Rest forehead on a block to ease tension in neck. You may also tuck the chin slightly to lengthen the neck, extending through the crown of the head.
- Interlace fingers to deepen the chest and shoulder opening.
- Sailing into the future with courage
Salabhasana is yet another nonflashy but very useful workhorse poses that we’re featuring as part of our modified series of tip sheets. This pose gets a lot of work done in the short time you give it.
Be patient with the process of building back strength. This is a position that doesn’t commonly show up in our lives so it’ll feel pretty weak in the beginning. But sticking with it and watching the progression over time will pay off royally.
Be mindful of any discomfort in the pose, a warning sign to make adjustments or move even slower.
What you can do next
- Please feel free to share in the comments below…we’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on this pose!
- Grab your free asana tip sheet by clicking the button below.