SUP Yoga Series: Learn how to teach Shalabhasana or Locust Pose

One of our favorite #landtowaterposes is Shalabhasana or Locust Pose. You can also use some of these cues for Bhjuangasana (Cobra).

We are counting the days until our SUP Yoga Teacher training this summer. We are especially looking forward to sipping local, delicious coffee before diving into morning flow classes in our outdoor oasis under native Pacific Northwest trees & the beautiful Portland sun. What’s your favorite local coffee? In our afternoon classes, we will teach how to verbally cue your students to move through postures on a board. It is really important that your cues are on point in SUP yoga as you cannot give them adjustments in the moment.

On the board, we DON'T want them hyper-extending the neck, jutting the chin forwards, or turtle necking. Cue your students to soften the shoulders away from the ear lobes and lengthen through the base of the skull. Ask them to gaze slightly down rather than forward & keep the face lifted about two or three inches from the SUP board. With this guidance, the neck is nice and long. The upper back muscles will know to turn on rather than relying on muscles in their overworked necks.

Don't let them lift their legs too high. Cue them to elevate the tops of their feet (with pointed toes) to about the same height as the face. Guide them to find more length from head to toe rather than arching more deeply. The lower booty muscles are supplementing extension toward the feet and the upper inner thighs are internally rotating. This will bring a sensation of the hip points traveling toward one another on the front and the sits bones spreading apart on the back.

I use a block to teach students this sensation on land. Place a block between your thighs and use your feet (especially your heels), inner thighs and core to push the block forward. Stay here and bring attention to how your tailbone feels. Maybe a little achy and compressed? If so, suck the block backwards by pushing your heels into the floor and slightly apart. This movement will travel up the inner and upper inner thighs, finally filtering back to those muscles around your tailbone that you were just clenching to create relief and clarity. This cue is really important for Locust or Cobra on the board.

Students will try to go BIG right away. It's always nice to begin with smaller movements and let the pose grow up from there, ESPECIALLY on a board in the water.