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Half Locust Pose (ardha salabhasana)

Back bend that stimulates your abdominal organs and improves digestion.
 

Half Locust Pose (or ardha salabhasana) is beneficial for strengthening your legs and back, with an emphasis on strengthening your lower back. This pose also stimulates your abdominal organs, which can help improve digestion. You can use this pose to warm up for Locust Pose, which is a more advanced version of Half Locust Pose.
 
While performing Half Locust Pose, you may find you can only lift your legs a few inches off the floor.
 
However, it is more important to create length through your legs than to try to lift your legs higher up off the floor. You may find it helpful to visualize your body lengthening through your spine and legs.
 
Make sure you do not strain your neck and shoulders while performing Half Locust Pose. You should also avoid compressing your lower back in this pose. Do not perform this pose if you have a back or neck injury
 
Steps:
Lie face down with your legs extended behind you. Rest the top of your feet on the floor hip width apart.
Place your arms alongside your body, palms down. Extend your fingers toward your feet to lengthen your arms.
(Make sure your arms are straight and your shoulders are relaxed down away from your ears.)
Rest your chin on the floor.
Exhale as you press your hips and pelvis into the floor.
Stretch your right leg behind you.
Inhale as you lift your right leg up toward the ceiling.
(Make sure you keep your chin on the floor as you lift your leg.)
(Make sure you keep both hips on the floor. Your legs should be straight, but your knees should not be locked.)
(Visualize your spine lengthening and your foot and toes moving away from your hip.)
Exhale as you lower your leg to the floor.
Lift and lower your leg three times and then hold the pose with your leg raised for 5 to 15 seconds.
To come out of the pose, exhale as you lower your leg to the floor.
Repeat steps 4 to 9 for your other side.
(After performing Half Locust Pose, you should perform a forward bend, such as Child's Pose, to release your lower back.)
 
What can I do if I have trouble lifting my legs in this pose?
Place a folded blanket under your pelvis to reduce the stress on your lower back. You should have an easier time lifting your legs when your pelvis is supported.
 
I feel pressure on the front of my body in this pose. What can I do?
You can lay your body on a folded blanket to provide a cushion between your body and the floor.
 
What should I do if my neck feels strained?
If your neck feels strained, you can place your forehead on the floor instead of your chin. You can also turn your head to rest your cheek on the floor. Make sure you turn your head away from the leg you are lifting. For example, if you are lifting your right leg, turn your head to the left and rest your right cheek on the floor. If you find resting your cheek on the floor uncomfortable, fold your arms in front of you and rest your cheek on your arms.
 
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