How To Do The Viparita Shalabhasana And Its Benefits October 4, 2016

Salabhasana, Shalabhasana , Locust Pose or Grasshopper Pose is an asana. Where Viparita – Inverted/ reversed; Shalabh – Locust; Asana – Pose/posture; Pronounced as Vip-a-RHEETH-uh shah-lah-BHAAHS-uh-nuh.

The Viparita Salabhasana is the ultimate back bend pose. Also called the superman pose, this pose is an advanced yoga posture, and must be done under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor only.

Everything You Need To Know About The Viparita Salabhasana

  1. What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
  2. How To Do The Asana
  3. Precautions And Contraindications
  4. Beginner’s Tips
  5. Advanced Pose Variations
  6. Benefits Of The Viparita Salabhasana
  7. The Science Behind The Viparita Salabhasana
  8. Preparatory Poses
  9. Follow-Up Poses

What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana

Courtesy of Julie Choi Trepkau

Courtesy of Julie Choi Trepkau

This asana must be practiced on an empty stomach. You need to make sure there is a good gap between your meals and the practice. Ideally, you need to give a 12-hour gap, which means you need to exercise in the morning. But, in case you are not a morning person, you could give a four to a six-hour gap between your meals and the practice, and exercise in the evening.

You must ensure that your bowels are clean before you practice this asana.

  • Level: Advanced
  • Style: Ashtanga Yoga
  • Duration: Until Your Body Is Comfortable
  • Repetition: None
  • Stretches: Back, Spine, Legs, Neck, Arms
  • Strengthens: Arms, Neck, Spine, Chest

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How To Do Superman Pose

  1. Lie down flat on your stomach and place your arms under your torso.
  1. Place your chin on the floor.
  1. Point your toes out and press the tops of your feet gently onto the floor.
  1. Transfer your body weight on your fours, as you lift your knees away from the floor.
  1. Tighten your glutes and your lower belly. Then, lengthen your lower back in such a way that the muscles in your buttocks lean towards your heels.
  1. Hold your fists down as you lift your elbows up towards your belly. Grip your arms towards your legs. Involve your upper arms and the chest muscles with all your might.
  1. Inhale, and lift your legs off the floor. Don’t bend your knees. Lift your legs from your thighs. As you do this, work the upper abs and your mid and lower belly as well. Your spine should arch, as if it is forming a ‘C’, and you should be able to see your toes in front of you.
  1. Exhale and lower your leg, and free your arms from under your torso. Come onto your fours, and assume the Balasana. Breathe.


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Precautions And Contraindications

These are a few things you must be cautious about before you practice this asana.

  1. Practice this asana only under the guidance of a certified Yoga instructor.
  1. If you feel stress in your neck, put your lips on the floor instead of your chin.
  1. Avoid doing this asana if you have back problems, spinal or arm injuries, and if you are menstruating or are pregnant.

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Beginner’s Tips

If you are a beginner, you can use the support of a wall to get this position right. There are two ways that you can use the support of the wall.

  1. You could lie flat on the floor, facing the wall. Then, lift your legs up, and gently push them against the wall to get the arch in your back right.
  1. Watch this video see how easily you can slip into this pose with the support of a wall.


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Advanced Pose Variations


Image: Shutterstock

Once you master this pose, you can push yourself a bit and increase your spinal stretch. Try touching your feet to the ground, or moving one leg in front and the other behind.

This asana is already an advanced Yoga posture, and mastering it might take a while. Do not be hasty, and refrain from jumping into this advanced position without guidance. You will end up doing more harm than good to your body.

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Benefits Of The Viparita Shalabhasana (Superman Pose)

These are some amazing benefits of the Viparita Shalabhasana.

  1. It completely stretches the back and the spine and makes them strong.
  1. This asana helps to strengthen the chest.
  1. It stimulates the heart chakra, the throat chakra, and the solar plexus.
  1. It stretches the digestive organs, therefore combating digestive problems.
  1. It rejuvenates and uplifts the mind, body, and soul.

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The Science Behind The Viparita Salabhasana

This asana is a challenging one, and usually, what it takes to assume this posture is exactly opposite to what is needed to remain in it. It takes a whole lot of strength of the core and the arms to lift the weight of the body against gravity. Once you assume the position, the pull of gravity can pull the body into a greater extension. Therefore, the trunk flexors need to be strong enough to prevent hyperextension. While some people may get into the pose easily, they might not be able to remain in it. Others might be able to sustain the pose and might need assistance getting into it.

It might be better to exhale while getting into the pose. Inhaling might prove to be counterproductive. This is because, when you inhale, the strong contraction of the diaphragm usually draws the lumbar spine and base of the rib cage to the central tendon. This can create resistance in lengthening the body while assuming this pose.

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Preparatory Poses

  1. Marjariasana
  2. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  3. Anjaneyasana
  4. Phalakasana
  5. Salabhasana
  6. Virabhadrasana I
  7. Virabhadrasana
  8. Virabhadrasana III
  9. Garudasana

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Follow-Up Poses


This asana is extremely challenging and usually involves a whole lot of effort. But if you get it right, it is definitely fruitful. Just one piece of advice – listen to your body, carefully!

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