Locust pose strengthens the muscles and connective tissues around the upper back and shoulders, helping to alleviate many back or spinal problems such as slipped disc and sciatica. Stretching the elbow joints with your body weight applied helps prevent or cure tennis elbow, tendonitis, arthritis and carpel tunnel syndrome. Lifting your legs like that is also excellent for firming your buttocks and hips!
A Few Tips for Locust Pose:
I started practicing yoga because I was physically and mentally bent out of shape. I needed something to reset my system and I knew I enjoyed doing yoga (but I had never committed to practicing regularly in the past.) I had no idea what I was getting myself into with Bikram yoga!
I ended up really enjoying it, and about 5 months later I completed my 105th class in 100 consecutive days. I have taken over 150 total classes so far, and I have no plans to stop making time for this yoga to be a big part of how I care for myself.
I dislocated my elbow when I was two and have experienced elbow pain ever since. During my first couple classes I felt quite a bit of pain in locust pose, but I kept trying a little bit each time. After a few months of practicing, it dawned on me one day that the pain in my elbow had disappeared! I had been so focused on just doing my best that I don't know what day or class had been the first one without pain. Even outside of yoga, the normal stiffness I felt with a slight change in weather is now gone. With the loss of pain and increased strength I have noticed that I am becoming more confident in locust pose- and in my body’s ability to change.
I feel like I am getting my life and my health back on track, and that is starting with yoga. I have a history of not making time for myself, and dedicating an hour and a half to myself every day has been amazing. No matter how I feel before class physically or emotionally, my body does the yoga (often in better form than my mind expects) and I can feel good about doing something for me. The best part is that it reflects in my daily life outside of class. Practicing yoga helps me to be kind and thoughtful in my interactions with others. I have lost weight and gained muscle, but more importantly I am making time to care for myself and nurture my body.
Another benefit I have found from the yoga is community. Being new to Portland, I have found Bikram Yoga St. Johns a welcoming, comfortable place to practice. I have made several good friends at the studio and brought some friends in to try yoga too. Staff and students are friendly and welcoming to all of us, no matter where we are in our life journey. All of the instructors encourage us to do good for ourselves in our practice and to try and push through mental barriers while connecting to our bodies in a way that keep us at peak performance. I continue to learn new things about myself and about this practice every time I enter the hot room.
I remember that my first class was very difficult, and there were so many things that I was doing wrong. I was telling myself I would never be able to do a certain pose or stretch a certain way. While I still have doubts about my ability to reach great depth in some of the postures, I have surprised myself so much by the improvements I have already made. My competitive streak keeps bringing me back to this practice every day- not to compete with my fellow yogis, but to compete with the self-imposed limitations that I plan to conquer.
“I have had a chronic pain issue in my neck and shoulder for several years, and I am always looking for ways to cope with it that are an alternative to western medicine. When I first tried Bikram yoga, it was so hard and so hot- but I loved it right away. I loved the intensity, the routine, and noticing changes in my strength and flexibility with each class.
“Since beginning to practice about a year and a half ago, my fitness level has improved so that when I am hiking or jogging or playing ultimate frisbee, I feel strong and have great endurance. While my shoulder and neck pain is still around, I notice a dramatic decrease in pain when I can get into the studio 4-5 times a week. I definitely feel like I have a greater body awareness. I understand better how to move, where I hold my stress, and how to let it go.
“When I am practicing Bikram regularly, it spills into other parts of my life: I crave eating healthy food; I am more motivated to do tasks that I sometimes like to procrastinate; I feel more engaged in my life, my relationships, and my community.
“I remember the day I became a Founding Member of BYSJ. I was excited when I saw a studio would be opening nearby and somewhat impulsively just put my credit card number in and clicked ok. After more thought it seemed like a big risk... a studio I had never seen, a community I did not know. I am so glad I made that impulsive move because I could not be happier to be a part of this inclusive, positive, vibrant and welcoming community.”
Cobra pose is the first in our spine-strengthening series of postures. This pose gets you to use all the muscles along your spine, as well as plenty of strength from your lower body, to lift your upper body off the floor. The focus of all that effort – and the major recipient of the benefits – is your lucky lower back.
Cobra promotes strength, space, and flexibility in the lumbar spine, all of which help to relieve and prevent that chronic back pain that is so common these days- so you don't have to be a statistic! Cobra also strengthens your quadratus lumborum, psoas, piriformis, hip adductors, and gluteal muscles. On a deeper level, it improves kidney, liver and spleen function. The more precision, intensity, and frequency you invest in your Cobra, the more benefits you will feel!
Top tips for getting the most out of Cobra:
One of the best ways to learn more about the postures is to read Bikram's "Beginning Yoga Class" book. Attend class 3 to 5 times weekly to put your learning into action and make your body smile!
Studio leader, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.