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Shalabhasana

4  Asana practiced while lying on the stomach  

Shalabhasana – (Locust Pose) 

"Shalabha" means "locust" in Sanskrit. The final position of this asana resembles a locust when it lowers its head to eat and raises its tail. Hence, the name.  

Sequence:
  1. Lie flat on your abdomen and chest with the face downwards.
  2. Keep the hips close to the floor and the legs straight and close to each other.
  3. Keep your arms stretched back on the sides with palms turned upwards.
  4. Relax.
  5. Raise your head a little and place your chin on the floor.
  6. Clench your fingers into fists and place them close to the thighs.
  7. Keep the knees rigid and stiffen your arms and legs.
  8. Inhale slowly and deeply and hold your breath.
  9. Put mild pressure on the clenched fists and raise backward both legs together slowly as high as you can from the navel without raising the head or bending the knees.
  10. Hold this position for a few seconds.
  11. Exhaling, put mild pressure on the fists and lower the legs, slowly to the floor without bending the knees.
  12. Relax.  
Caution:
  1. Aged and corpulent persons and beginners will find this asana difficult at first. They must not strain themselves to raise their legs very high from the floor. They must practice slowly according to their capacity, and each time they practice, they should try to lift the legs a little higher without strain and pause for a moment when they can go no further.
  2. One should practice Ardha Shalabhasana for a few weeks and strengthen their back and leg muscles before assuming the full posture which can be performed correctly only after long practice.
  3. Do not clench your fist too tight or too loose.
  4. Beginners may tuck in their fists under the thighs which will enable them to lift their legs higher and more easily.
  5. Breathing should be controlled while performing this asana.
  6. After completing Shalabhasana and before starting the next asana, relax completely in Savasana until breathing returns to normal.
  7. Persons with hernia, weak lungs and cardiac complaints should not practice the asana.
  8. Pregnant women should also not practice this asana.  

Benefits:
  1. Shalabhasana is a good exercise for the legs, thighs, hips, buttocks, the lower abdomen, diaphragm and wrists.
  2. This yoga pose strengthens the muscles of the small of the back.
  3. Because of the deep inhalation and holding of the breath in this asana, the lungs expand and become strong and the chest broadens.
  4. The blood circulation improves.
  5. The asana directly massages the heart and improves its action.
  6. It greatly influences the activity of the adrenal and prostate glands and the reproductive organs and glands.
  7. The lower lumbar and sacral regions of the spine become more flexible and the lumbo-sacral nerves are toned tip.
  8. Shalabhasana corrects any faulty curvature in the base of the spinal column.
  9. It dissolves excess fat from the thighs, hips, waist, abdomen and the posterior.
  10. A protruding belly gets reduced and the waist becomes resilient and supple.
  11. Persons suffering from bronchitis get relief.
  12. This asana is used for the relief of rheumatic pain in the hips and knees.
  13. Practice of this asana alleviates oedema of the ankles and feet.
  14. This yoga pose benefits women through its effect on the ovaries and uterus, helping to correct disorders of these organs.  
 
 

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