Yoga Superman Pose (Viparita
Shalabhasana)

Superman PoseViparita Shalabhasana (Vip-a-REET-uh shah-lah-BHAAHS-uh-nuh) — is an excellent back strengthening posture that targets muscles in the lower back. It gets its name from the Sanskrit words, Viparita, meaning inverted/reversed, Shalabh, meaning cicada, and asana, meaning pose.

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate

In the Padma Sadhana sequence, Superman Pose forms the fifth pose after Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose).

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Lie on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor and chin resting on the ground.
  • Keep your legs close together with your feet lightly touching each other.
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you as far as possible.
  • Take a deep breath in and lift your chest, arms, legs, and thighs off the floor. Smile - you’re flying! Rather than making an effort to raise your hands and legs higher, make a gentle effort to stretch your arms and legs away from your torso. Feel the pull occurring at both ends of your body. Ensure that your elbows and knees are not bent.
  • Keep breathing with awareness and keep your attention on the stretch.
  • As you exhale, gently lower your chest, arms, and legs.

Benefits

  • Stretches and strengthens the muscles of the chest, shoulders, arms, legs, abdomen and the lower back
  • Tones the abdomen and lower back
  • Massages the spine and keeps the back supple
  • Stretches the chest
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Tones the abs and stomach

Precautions

  • Pregnancy
  • Recent abdominal surgery

Modifications and Variations

  • To Modify: If you find the pose to be too strenuous for your back, start by lifting up in small increments. Remember - there is no rush!
  • To increase the challenge: With each inhale, raise your legs and arms higher off the ground and with each exhale, pull your arms and legs farther apart from one another.

Follow-up and Preparatory Poses

  • Cobra Pose | Bhujangasana (Preparatory)
  • Locust Pose | Salabhasana (Preparatory)

While a regular yoga practice can result in improved health, know that it is not a substitute for medical treatment. It is important to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained teacher. In the case of a medical condition, practice yoga after consulting a doctor. Do you need information on courses? Contact us at programs@us.artofliving.org to find a a Sri Sri Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you.

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