THE LOCUST: ŚALABHĀSANA
Supplements and enhances the effects of the Cobra (Bhujaṅgāsana). The Locust brings flexibility to the cervical region and strengthens the lumbar and sacral regions of the back, thus improving the quality of all sitting & standing activities. Unlike the other āsanas, which are done slowly, you achieve Locust by making a single powerful muscle contraction, similar to that of a locust jumping. This simultaneously brings together thought, breath, movement, and prāṇa (vital energy).
• Intestinal functions are regulated. Resistance of the abdominal walls is strengthened. Sluggish digestion is removed.
• All internal organs massaged, especially the pancreas, liver and kidneys.
• It gives a backward bend to the spine and opens the chest.
• An increased blood supply is brought to the neck and throat region.
• Flexibility of the cervical region is promoted.
• The biceps and deltoid muscles of the upper arms are strengthened and given an increased blood supply.
• The abdominal and lumbar muscles are strengthened.
• Lower-back pain and sciatica (pain down the leg) are alleviated.
• The back and shoulder muscles are strengthened.
• Bodily heat is produced.
• Digestive fire is increased.
• Of all the āsanas, this pose is the one that works most on developing will power. According to Swami Vishnudevananda, exercising will power makes one’s thoughts pure and powerful and is the main goal of the practice of āsanas. Strong will power also lifts your energy levels from inertia (Tamas) to harmony (Sattva).