SomaVeda Thai Yoga Ardis Salabhasana Half Locust for Low Back and Abdominal
by Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), DPHC(h.c.), SMOKH
Director of Education at The Thai Yoga Center and The SomaVeda™ Institute of Natural Healing
In SomaVeda’s prone position, the facilitated Ardis Salabhasana or Half Locust Lift is a great release for both the low back and abdomen. By release we mean the posture balances the energetic, pranic, physical, mental and emotional aspects of the person.
Yoga Nadi affected are primarily the sen lines Kalathari, Sumana, as well as Sen Ittha and Pinghala depending on which side in emphasized. One interesting note is that because of this sen line emphasis we can expect the facilitated Locust lift to beneficially affect the respiratory and digestive process. In classical Thai Yoga, indications are based on the path of the line of Prana or vital life force. Any physical, mental or emotional concern that could be located on or near a sen line (Yoga Prana Nadi) would indicate that line was out of balance.
The unilateral emphasis of doing each side independently supports the traditional assessment model of having sessions focused primarily on one side of the body. This traditional assessment states that all disorders were first described as male or female or right or left side imbalances. This is similar to the idea in Traditional Chinese Medicine of defining illnesses as yin or yang and then applying a balancing strategy or protocol.
Part 1 Demo
This Yoga Therapy asana directly addresses proper alignment of the pelvis and sacrum with the low back vertebrae of L4 and L5. It elongates the psoas-diaphramatic-complex of the anterior leg and torso from the knee to the sternum. The Psoas-Diaphramatic Complex is the synergistic musculature running from the knee to the rib cage including the quadriceps, rectus abdominus, the psoas (illiacus/ illiopsoas) , quadratus lumboram and the diaphram. We include in the complex all the little supportive and synergistic stuctures such as the inner and deep adductors which are also included in function of the complex. The facilitated asana is both unilateral and asymmetrical and helps bring corrective energy to improper alignments of the entire pelvic grid in the front, back, and side.
The beauty part in the Half Locust lift is that it is very difficult to target these structures to self release on your own. The reason being typical as a difference between the practice of Hatha Yoga and Isolated stretching being that in order to lift the left on your own you first have to contract the spinal and para spinal muscles of the back. You also contract the legs and supporting abdominal structures creating antagonistic muscle tension required for the lifting of the leg. This is specifically antagonistic to the process of releasing the anterior lines and structures!
One of the great values in Yoga Therapy is that there is little or no antagonistic muscle tension created in the doing or facilitating of the therapeutic asana themselves!
This position brings emphasis to the soft tissue areas of the low back and the Bladder Meridian. Half locust by definition is a backbend. Like all supported backbends, it facilitates the release of the anterior para-spinal muscles. Spasm in the anterior para-spinal muscles can refer trigger point pain directly into the low back (either side) in the sacral/gluteal area, which can create a classic sciatic pain pattern. It can also refer pain higher up in the mid and upper back. Supported Locust brings oxygen to ischemic muscles, which reduces spasm and the resultant referral pain. Reducing spasm in and of itself will allow greater range of motion.
It is very important that the therapist use proper body mechanics and postural alignment to avoid strain injuries especially when working with larger, heavier clients. Lifting mechanics need to be stressed more in American and western clients as the average person is overweight and so many are clinically obese. Don’t sacrifice your back to lift a client beyond your ability to maintain proper body mechanics. If you can’t lift properly then skip this technique and move on!
Part 2 Demo
This technique is performed by SomaVeda Thai Yoga Aachan, Dr. James at the Thai Yoga Center in Plant City, FL.
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