As the Cobra tones the lower part of the body, the Locust is meant for the proper exercise of the upper half. When full Locust is performed correctly, it looks exactly opposite to the Shoulderstand.
The Half Locust – preparatory exercise
- Lying on the abdomen, bring the chin to the floor. Stretch the chin forward as far as possible, imagining that you are trying to bring the throat flat onto the ground.
- Make fists of the hands and bring them under the thighs. Try to bring the elbows together beneath the body.
- Inhale, raising the right leg up as high as possible without lifting or twisting the hips. Keep the knees straight. Exhaling, lower the leg to the ground and repeat with the left leg. Do this 2-5 times on each side. Beginners may hold the leg up for 5 seconds, increasing gradually to 15 seconds.
Common mistakes: do not permit the hips to twist or lift off the ground. The top of the foot should be flat on the ground (not toes tucked under). Both knees should be straight.
The Locust – coming into the position
- Remain in the position with fists beneath the thighs and chin stretched forward on the ground. Take 3 deep breaths. On the third breath, raise both legs up off the ground as high as possible. The knees should be kept straight. The sacral area may raise a bit along with the legs.
- For beginners the elevation may only be 2-3 inches. More advanced students will lift the legs higher until, eventually, the feet are over the head.
- Beginners may hold the Locust for 5 seconds, gradually increasing to 30 seconds.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
- To come out of the position exhale and bring the legs down with control.
- After completing the Locust rest and relax on the abdomen. Fold the arms, making a pillow for the head and rest the cheek on the hands.
Benefits of the Locust
- Abdominal pressure is increased. Intestinal functions are regulated and the resistance of the abdominal walls is strengthened. Sluggish digestion is removed.
- All the internal organs are massaged especially the pancreas, liver and kidneys.
- Gives backward bend to the spine and opens the chest.
- Increased blood supply is brought to the neck and throat region.
- The biceps and deltoid muscles of the upper arms are strengthened and given an increased blood supply.
- Abdominal and lumbar muscles are strengthened.
- Lower-back pain and sciatica are banished.
- The digestive fire is increased.
Note: Do not practice this asana if you are pregnant.