Shalabhasana - The Locust
Salabha (śalabha, शलभ): cricket, moth, grass-hopper, locust.
This posture consists in three series, two lateralized and one complete. It involves Manipura Chakra (stomach center) and is not advised in cases of pregnancy.
The Half-locust (Ardha Shalabhasana)
The starting point is lying down on the stomach; head tilted forward resting on the ground through the chin. The feet and toes are extended. Arms are either resting on the side of the body, hands turned toward the ground, or arms bent with hands slightly beyond the shoulders. In this last option, the elbows must be held vertically and near the trunk.
The eyes fix a point in front of the body, at the horizontal, or on the ground. The knees are locked and the pelvis and abdominal girdle are flat on the ground. The eyes remain open throughout the sequences and fix the point without closing the eyelids. One must practice an inner smile, with detachment.
Then, during an exhalation, the left leg is raised as high as possible. The angle obtained must permit stability during the exercise.
Immediately practice Visamavritti (1) while insuring a constant Mula Bandha lock. This lock insures the true control of the energy and if established with power, especially during the full retention allows the catalysis of the energy in the energetic body and in the spine.
Notes: (1) Visamavritti should follow a rhythm of 3/12/6/0, 4/16/8/0, 5/20/10/0 or more. In intermediary trainings, it can be dropped to 3/6/6/0.
(2) It is feasible to move the hips slightly towards the side of the raised leg in the beginning to render the position easier.
(3) The posture should be held for 3 to 4 minutes at least.
Finally, upon an exhalation, bring the leg down, and place both hands under the forehead: the left hand on the ground palm facing up and the right hand in a fist resting in the left hand.
Then, practice the posture on the other side for an equal length of time.
The complete locust
Make a fist with both hands and slide them under both side of the pubis at the level of the groin or slightly below. If the position of the fists is correct, the position is comfortable; otherwise, the fists need to be moved slightly.
During an exhalation, raise both legs. The energy work is as described above. This series is much more powerful and the breathing exercises must be pushed to the maximum. This results in a feeling of heat that propagates to the whole body from head to toes.
During an exhalation, come back to the ground. Rest wit the same position of the hands under the forehead and then go into the integrative posture.