Salabhasana / Locust Pose

This pose is particularly strengthening for the lower back muscles.  It opens the chest, encourages good breathing, and dissipates mental fatigue.

Contraindications (cautions): Headache, serious back injury, pregnancy, those with neck injuries should keep their head in a neutral position by looking down at the floor; you might also support the forehead on a thickly folded blanket.

Step by Step

1.  Lie on your belly on the floor, legs extended and inner ankles touching.  Allow the forehead to rest on the floor, so the back of the neck is long.  Extend the arms beside the body, hands beside the hips and backs of the hands on the floor.

2.  Soften the whole front of the body, surrendering to the support of the floor if offering.  Gently squeeze the buttocks together, rolling the thighs inward as you press the pubic bone toward the floor.

3.  Extend through the arms, stretching the fingertips toward the feet, drawing the shoulders down the back, and opening across the front of the chest.

4.  Inhale as you lift the chest and legs off the floor, keeping the shoulders unhunched and plenty of length in the back of the neck. To lighten; alternate lifting just the legs, then the upper body before lifting them both together.

5.  Lift the hands and wrists as you extend the fingertips back toward the feet.  Breathe here for a few breaths.  Even as you look up, tuck the chin in toward the chest a little to keep the neck and shoulders soft and relaxed.  Rest in front corpse pose, make a pillow with the hands and rest the cheek.

6.  Counterpose:  Paschimottanasana/Double Leg Forward Stretch or lie on your back and hug knees to chest.