The Locust or Grasshopper Posture
|The Sanskrit word Shalabha means locust or grasshopper. There is a variation of this posture called the viparita-shalabha-asana. The Sanskrit word viparita means "reverse." This is an advanced variation not covered here.
|"Lie on the ground with the face downwards and both hands under the chest touching the ground with the palms of the hands and both legs raised in the air ten inches high. This is called the Shalabha posture."
The Gheranda-samhita II.39
The shalabha-asana has many benefits. Besides strengthening the muscles of the upper legs and lower back, it stimulates the stomach and intestines helping to relieve gastrointestinal gas, strengthens the bladder, and stretches the spine.
To assist raising the legs as high as possible keep the back of the hands resting against the floor while pushing the legs upward with the fingers. As you get better at this posture and increase the strength of you legs you can raise the hands completely off the floor so your legs are raised unsupported. This increases the benefits of the shalabha-asana.