Anatomy of Locust Pose

Not all yoga poses are aimed towards stretching muscle groups. The Locust Pose is a great example of such a pose as its main aim is to strengthen and condition a large amount of muscles. The muscles being strengthened/conditioned are, to simplify, all the muscles on the back of the body. By contracting all these muscles you achieve the extended body position which is the Locust Pose. The superficial large muscles along the posterior side of the body include the calf muscles, hamstrings, glutials, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapezius. The deep muscles in the spine that are strengthened include the multifidus, iliocostal lumborum and longissimus thoracis. To raise the head up into extension, the Spinalis capitis and semispinalis capitis are tightened and strengthened. So why is conditioning and strengthening muscles important, especially when practising yoga?

One of the main aims of yoga is to increase flexibility, which is achieved by lengthening muscles and connective tissue by essentially leaving muscles on long sustained stretches. Joint capsules also loosen slightly to allow more range of movement in joints. If you create too much length in the muscle, connective tissue and excessive mobility in the joints, the muscles have to be well conditioned and strong enough to support the joints at the extremities of the increased range of movement. Frequently it is a lack of conditioning of the muscles that can lead to a more susceptible chance of injury. A good example of this is ballet dancers. They need great flexibility and equally an extreme amount of strength and conditioning. To achieve this they have to spend a large proportion of the day stretching. Even more important than this however, is that they have to do a lot of conditioning and strengthening of muscles to achieve the stability and control in the joints when they are at the extreme ranges of movement. Therefore, without conditioning of the muscles, too much flexibility can actually cause injury to joints.

There is quite a large amount of force going into the neck if looking forward whilst achieving the Locust Pose. If this is painful then look to the floor instead.

The gluteus maximus muscle is the largest muscle in the body. To engage this muscle more during the Locust Pose squeeze the legs together.

By pointing the toes this creates a greater contraction in the calf muscles and planter fascia along the bottom of the foot. The Locust Pose is a very good position to aid in conditioning the body which potentially can reduce the risk of injury.

*/ ?>