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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tip of the Week: The Lift in Locust Pose Isn't All About the Legs

Although you might think Locust Pose (Salabhasana) is all about focusing on the strength of your legs to raise them up high, the key to this posture is to focus on maintaining a strong upper body, a "pushing grip" with the pads of your fingers and palms of your hands, and learning to shift your body weight to the front.

Make sure you have a good set up. Lying on your stomach, roll your arms under your body with your hands and palms facing the floor. Try to get your elbows completely under your stomach so that they are invisible, and have your baby fingers touching side by side. This is the only posture where you are told to separate your fingers, so really stretch them out wide and grab the floor with your fingertips.

Use the strength in your hands and arms to maintain your weight towards the front of your body, so you can hold your legs up for as long as you can.

Bring your focus to activating the muscles of your back and truly feeling the strengthening sensation of the posture. This will help you to activate the muscles more and often will help you achieve more height.

Keep your arms and legs active, engaging your muscles and keeping them straight. The tighter they are the lighter they will feel. From Bikram educator Craig Villani, "Do not bend your knees in the posture because you are breaking the static arc of the posture."

Another important key to this posture is focusing on reaching your leg back away from your body, more than trying to lift it as high as possible. According to Bikram, "In all three phases of Locust, reaching and stretching your legs out, away from your body, is the important thing, not how high you lift them. (And, as always, your knees must be locked.) Imagine that someone has hooked your big toe to one of my Bentleys and I'm driving it through the wall behind you.

In the last, most hated part of Locust--lifting both legs at once-- understand that you're not really doing this with the legs on their own. When you can accomplish this lift, it will be because the muscles of the lower back and abdomen are doing the work; they're picking up the legs and moving them. So if you're struggling here, send mental message to those areas, and to your lower spine, telling them to send more power right away!"

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