Part two of this sequence is a bit more spicy and moves into a slightly different backbend which can be more strenuous for some. If you´re just starting out or are feeling a little delicate it might be worth checking out part 1 of this instalment for a slightly gentler backbend variation.
Locust Pose is a cheeky little number that also taps into some shoulder-opening deliciousness. As with every single yoga posture though, remember to choose your own seasoning – listen to your body and don´t feel the need to push yourself further than it feels good to go.
Before you begin, consider that the pose is looking to backbend the upper back as opposed to lower back. Try to imagine the area – from the space behind your belly button, all the way up to the crown of your head. For me, it really helps to focus on this so that I don´t crunch into the low back (never a good move).
- Lay on your belly and rest your head on the ground or on your hands. If laying on your front feels uncomfortable, add some blanket softness. Let your heels fall out to the edge of the mat so the inner seams of your legs can relax. Soften your belly. Tap into your breath. Sometimes, it can be nice to just “land” here before moving into the pose. It´s also a nice way to feel your organs in a different way (!) – as you breathe, feel how your belly can expand and soften with each cycle.
- To move into the pose, start by activating from your toes and work your way up. Press the tops of the feet into the ground and spread the toes, pressing the toenails into the ground. Try to feel the whole top of the foot – from the big toe(nail) to the little one. As you press into the tops of the feet, start to feel that activation draw up the front of your leg. For some, the knees will lift away from the ground. Lengthen your tailbone towards the back of the room and feel your bum cheeks activate. This is important in your backbend as it will provide support for the low back.
- Lift your head a little and feel the muscles on the back of your neck activate. Start to roll your shoulderheads back and reach your arms behind your back. Interlace your fingers behind your back and bend your elbows. Rest the hands on your low back. If interlacing your fingers isn´t an option, try using a strap/belt/scarf between your hands to hold on to. Grip the strap with your thumbs facing towards the sky in order to outwardly rotate your shoulders.
- Lift your hands up away from your bum, then reach your knuckles towards the back of the room. Keep your feet and legs engaged. I like to hold this with my elbows bent for a couple of breaths, then start to straighten them in order to get a slightly different feeling of opening in my shoulders. You can try that if it feels good.
- Hold for up to 5 breaths, breathing of course (which can feel a little tricky in a backbend, mind) then release down onto your front. Try turning your head to one side, either with the ear on the floor, or if that´s too much rest your head on your hands. Soften your muscles and enjoy the feeling of release.
- Also a reminder on about backbend life: It´s said that backbends can enable us to be more in touch with matters of the heart, as they tend to tap into tension that lurks around the shoulder, chest and neck area – for many of us these are places that get all tight and constricted, especially if we aren´t used to opening this region. So, feel it´s important to mention that sometimes, there can be physiological reactions after taking postures that might bring things to the surface and make us feel emo n stuff. And it´s nothing to be scared or ashamed of. Just go gently, keep breathing and be kind in the way you handle yourself (always!). If things do bubble up, take a break and perhaps a bath or something indulgent. Often stuff emerges when it needs to, so see it as a release of sorts.Take care of you.
Enjoy that sweet, vulnerable, raw, beautiful and tender opening lovelies! Be gentle with you. Here´s some oldies but goldies to accompany you on your back – bending quest. I got you, innit.