Lo­cust Pose

Yoga Journal - - Practice Well -

BEN­E­FITS Strength­ens back mus­cles; stretches your shoul­ders and chest; im­proves pos­ture

IN­STRUC­TION Be­gin ly­ing on your belly with your arms at your sides, fore­head on your mat, palms fac­ing up. Take a full cy­cle of breath, and as you com­plete the ex­ha­la­tion, gen­tly squeeze your legs to­gether and press the backs of your hands and fin­ger­nails into the ground. As you in­hale, lift your up­per and lower body si­mul­ta­ne­ously, keep­ing your feet and heels to­gether and your legs straight. Gen­tly squeeze your shoul­der blades back to­ward each other, and then lift your chest higher off the ground. To open your shoul­ders more fully, reach your hands to­ward each other and, keep­ing your el­bows straight, clench your hands to­gether and lift your arms. (This deep­est ver­sion of the pose will help to open your chest and shoul­ders in prepa­ra­tion for our peak pose.) Keep your gaze on the tip of your nose and imag­ine length­en­ing your en­tire body from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head. Hold here for 8–10 breaths. If there is any pinch­ing in your lower back, slightly lower your chest and legs, or put your hands back on the floor. Feel for the sweet spot where you’re able to breathe com­fort­ably but are work­ing with full con­cen­tra­tion.

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