Locust (Salabhasana) is the worst. Full Locust (Poorna-Salabhasana) is super fun. How can two postures that are so similar be so different.
The first part of Locust is fine. Starting on your belly, rock the hips as much as is necessary to get your arms under your hands with palms facing down as if you are going to hit a volleyball. Try to get your elbows to touch. Keeping the left leg relaxed, engage the muscles of the right left and lift it off the ground while keeping the hip bone on the floor. Repeat on the other side. That part is fine.
But then, getting the arms even closer – it possible – we are meant to lift both legs simultaneously. Almost five years in to my Bikram yoga practice and I swear I am maybe three inches higher than when I started. Is it a lack of stomach muscles? Are my boobs too big? I will keep trying but my husband seriously laughed at me when I showed him.
Full Locust doesn’t give me any of the strain or anxiety that Locust does. I put my arms out to the side, zip my legs together and fly like an eagle. Or a locust, I suppose. Maybe it’s that my favorite teacher always tells us to imagine that we are flying off to a vacation somewhere far far away. And to get there we need to soar!
As conflicted as I am about the varioaions of this pose, the benefits are many so the struggle must continue. Locus strengthens the muscles of the spine, bum and legs. It stretches the shoulders, belly and thighs which, in turn, improves posture.
I have been working with a friend who has no yoga experience. It’s interesting to see these postures through her eyes. She is convinced she will never get her arms under her body for Locust. I remember feeling like that. Thinking that the dialogue was just insane and that I would wait for the next pose.
However, she also finds Full Locust to be difficult. And while I never have, I fully understand where she is coming from. Every muscle is engaged. But it’s easier than Balancing Stick Pose (where the dialogue also tells us to use every muscle in the body). At least this time we’re on the floor!