Yoga for runners: Position 17 - Poorna Salabhasana

So last time we had you all doing the locust. Well here's the thing. It was only partial. This time you’ll be doing the Full Locust – and no, it isn’t a weird dance from the Rocky Horror Show. It involves lifting both your legs AND arms from the ground and resting only on your midsection.

Poorna Salabhasana: Step by Step

1. Lie on the floor, face down. Ensure you keep your lips, nose and forehead in contact with your mat. Lie with the tops of your feet and hands resting on the floor, with your arms loosely arrange at a 30-40 degree angle away form the body, like the wings of a plane.  Your feet should be hip width apart

2. Inhale and, using your whole core: glutes, lower back, abdominals, breathe in lift your arms, legs off the floor as high as you can.

3. You should be pushing your hands and feet up towards the ceiling so that your body starts to curl in on itself in the middle. Aim to have as little of your body as you can actually in contact with the ground.

4. Hold for ten seconds and then release slowly – not with a thud and a few choice swearwords – back to the floor. Repeat twice.

Poorna Salabhasana: The Benefits

The benefits of this pose include:

  • Firming of the abdomen, upper arms, hips and thighs
  • Increase in spinal strength and flexibility
  • Improved flexibility and tone of spinal muscles
  • Relief and prevention of lower backache
  • Relief of lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems
  • Correction of bad posture
  • Improves function of liver and spleen

And this one rarely applies to runners, who are a greedy bunch on the whole – yes, I’m looking at you – but it also helps to combat loss of appetite.

Olga Allon, Director of Hot Bikram Yoga, says: “By now, followers of this blog will know that the flexible runner is a rarely injured runner – and this stretch, with the onus it places on working and opening each vertebra of your spine, is perfect for decompression of the spine after the pounding you give it on the streets and in the gym.

“The genius of it is that it does two things at once – while building muscles in the upper back, the traps, the deltoids – the muscles you need to drive your arms backwards – it concentrates on isolating and lengthening the muscles in the lower back – so it's stretching one half while building the other.

“And if that’s not enough, you're subtly toning and shaping your legs and bum as you hold them in the air.”

Sounds good to us. Now where did I put my lycra...

Bikram specialist Olga Allon teaches at London's Hot Bikram Yoga.