Full Locust is the third posture in the spine strengthening series.
In Cobra, you kept your lower body rooted to the floor while lifting your chest and upper body into the air.
In Locust, you kept your upper body on the floor while lifting your contracted legs into the air.
Now you’ll perform the amazing feat (it genuinely is amazing!) of lifting your upper and lower body off the floor at the same time.
This posture requires all of your strength and effort. Like Balancing Stick, it is a short posture, held only for ten seconds, so it’s important not to delay getting into the posture.
Take a deep breath – – lift up – – you’re there!
Tips from the podium:
- When you bring your arms out to either side of the body during the set-up, engage the muscles of both arms, and feel your shoulder blades start to separate. Some people like to set up with arms/palms already slightly lifted off the floor to be sure the the muscles in their arms and shoulders are contracted.
- Press your inner thighs together and contract the front of your thighs. If you bend or separate your legs, you’ll get more height and your posture will feel easier, but you won’t be building the back strength we’re aiming for. Better to start with proper alignment and build depth over time.
- Point your toes, and create a long line from the tips of your toes through the crown of your head. Remember, we always try to lengthen the spine before moving it.
- Breathing is so important in this posture. Big inhale as you lift everything up off the floor, and then 80/20 breathing (calmly moving just 1/5 of the air in your lungs in and out through your nose) for the entire posture.
- When you’re first learning how to do this posture, it can be hard to lift your chest and your legs at the same time. Concentrate on your chest at first, but once you feel some strength and control there, be sure to get your thighs off the floor as well.
- It’s so important, it’s worth another reminder here: Breathe.
- At the very end, take a last inhale, and on the exhale, lift up one more time. Your intercostal muscles (between your ribs) will relax slightly on the exhale, helping you find a little more motion in the thoracic spine.
- Come down slowly, with control, continuing to build strength. This short posture should exhaust you, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in at the end and collapse onto the floor. Calmly move into Savasana and then let everything go.
- Increases spinal strength and flexibility, especially in the thoracic spine.
- Strengthens the glutes, quads, deltoids, trapezius, and triceps.
- Opens the ribcage.
- Increases heart rate.
- Stimulates reproductive and digestive systems.
–Ellen Olson-Brown, The Hot Yoga Factory Chelmsford.