Viparita Shalabhasana

Definition - What does Viparita Shalabhasana mean?

Viparita shalabhasana is the name given to two strong backbends, but more typically refers to an advanced asana that is part of the third series of Ashtanga yoga. The name comes from the Sanskrit, virparita, meaning “inverted”; shalabh, meaning “locust”; and asana, which is translated as “pose” or “posture.”

From a supine position with the chin resting on the ground and the arms alongside the body with the palms up, the legs are lifted skyward as the back arches. The legs usually remain straight, although some yogis practice the pose with the knees bent. The arms either remain outstretched with the palms up or the hands may be together in fists.

In English, viparita shalabhasana is known as inverted locust pose.

Yogapedia explains Viparita Shalabhasana

Viparita shalabhasana is also used as the Sanskrit name for a more basic posture called Superman pose (also sometimes called airplane locust), which also provides a strong back bend. From a supine position with the arms reaching forward, the arms, legs and chest lift off the ground so that the body looks like Superman in flight.

In addition to its physical benefits -- which include increased flexibility and core strengthening -- viparita shalabhasana is believed to balance the anahata (heart), visuddha (throat) and manipura (solar plexus) chakras. Anahata is associated with love and compassion, visuddha with higher truth and authentic expression, and manipura with self-esteem and inner strength.

Viparita shalabhasana is also believed to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Calm and focus the mind
  • Improve confidence
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