By Jeff Lutes, SOYA500, ERYT200. Jeff is a lead trainer for SOYA teacher training program in Mexico. He is a co-owner of Chinook Yoga in Prince George, BC.
Shalabhasana pose is a dynamic pose; a full body energizer and an excellent counter pose for forward folds. This pose can be modified in many ways and is accessible for all Yogis.
- Lie flat on your stomach. Initiate the pose with forehead connected to the mat, arms extended down the side of the body palms down, legs extended with the tops of the feet connected softly with the mat. Connect with your breath. The breath draws into the space around the heart and energizes the spine, extending from this mid point to the crown of the head and down to the tail bone. Feel your points of contact….. pelvic bone, top of the feet, forehead.
- Lift the shoulders off the ground and soften the shoulder blades
- Inhale, ground through the pelvis, quads and tops of feet and lift the upper body and head off the ground a few inches, remember to keep the neck in line with the spine. Do not press through your hands, they are not levers of this pose, they are the stabilizers, if required. Activate the back and abdominal muscles. Sue the strength of these muscles in combination with the breath to lengthen through the entire length of the spine. On the exhalation lower down. Do this 5 times, each time lengthen the inhalation and raise the upper body a little more and lengthen the exhalation as you come down slowly and smoothly.
- Move to the legs. With head to floor, shoulders active and shoulder blades sliding down your spine, hands palm down, legs active, pelvis grounded, on the inhalation lift the left leg and lower on exhalation. Repeat for the right leg. Lift both legs on inhalation and lower on exhalation.
- Now-get ready. On the inhalation energize and raise your torso and your legs simultaneously. Stay grounded in the pelvis. Activate the energy throughout the entire body. Exhale and slowly lower. Repeat 5 times. Stay within your comfortable range of motion.
Cautions: Back and Neck problems.
Modifications: Raise only an inch of the ground if that is where you are. Only perform posture on upper and lower bodies separately. Visualize doing the pose if raising an inch of the ground is too much. Pay careful attention to sensations in the spine. Again, stay within you realm of comfort.
Benefits: Creates “elasticity in the spine.” Strengthens the major muscle groups in the back and legs. Massages the abdomen benefiting digestion.