Superman Pose or Viparita Shalabhasana is the name given to two strong backbends, but more typically refers to an advanced asana that is part of the third series of Ashtanga yoga. The name comes from the Sanskrit, virparita, meaning “inverted”; shalabh, meaning “locust”; and asana, which is translated as “pose” or “posture.”
With the belly on the floor, the yogi lifts their legs and arms toward the sky, stretching from fingertips to toes. The pose is wonderfully strengthening for the back and improves digestion.
Also Viparita Shalabhasana is known as Inverted Locust Pose.
Place a yoga mat on the floor and lie face down, extending your legs and stretching your arms forward.
Maintain a neutral position with your head, avoiding looking upwards.
Begin slowly raising your arms and legs, stopping when they reach a height of approximately 6 inches.
While lifting your limbs, activate various muscles, including those between your shoulders, your core muscles, and your glutes.
Engage your abdominal muscles and aim to lift your belly button slightly. This will resemble the position of Superman while flying.
Hold this pose for about 5 to 10 seconds, remembering to breathe throughout.
Gradually lower your belly and limbs back down to the mat.
As a beginner, you can repeat the Superman pose for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.
Benefits and Contraindications
Tones the abdomen and lower back
Stretches and strengthens the muscles of the chest, shoulders, arms, legs, abdomen and the lower back
Massages the spine and keeps the back supple
Improves blood circulation
Helps stretch the chest
Recently undergone abdominal surgery or hernia
Severe back injury
Photo poses in different angles
Modifications and Props for Beginners
If the full expression of the pose is pinching your lower back, try keeping the tips of your feet on the ground, focusing instead on lifting the chest. To create further opportunity for stretching through shoulders and lungs, extend your arms back and interlace the fingers, drawing your shoulder blades together.
Instead of facing down with your palms, place a block between your hands before you start. As you lift your arms, press firmly into the block. This should stimulate shoulder rotation without letting your arms splay out. If you wanted to make this pose dynamic, you could bring the block behind you in one hand and pass it to the other, changing the direction after every turn.
Another good trick with a yoga block is to place it between your feet and squeeze your feet together to hold the block. This can help you engage your leg muscles and lift your legs off the ground, even if you don’t have the strength to lift them very high.
Place a yoga bolster or rolled-up blanket under your pelvis to elevate your upper body. This can help you lift your legs higher and increase the stretch in your back and legs.
Placing a folded blanket or cushion under your pelvis can help to distribute weight more evenly and reduce pressure on pelvic bones.
Before lifting your legs, engage your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine. This can help protect your lower back and keep your pelvis stable.
Avoid tensing your shoulders or neck as you lift your legs. Instead, keep your shoulders relaxed and your gaze forward.
Deep breathing can help you stay focused and calm during the pose. Inhale deeply as you lift your legs, and exhale as you lower them back down.
It’s important to listen to your body and modify the pose as necessary. If you feel pain or discomfort, come out of the pose and try a modification or a different pose altogether.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Superman Pose suitable for beginners?
Superman Pose can be challenging for beginners, but it can be modified by lifting one arm and the opposite leg at a time. It’s always important to listen to your body and not push beyond your level of comfort or ability.
What are some common mistakes to avoid in Superman Pose?
Some common mistakes to avoid in Superman Pose include lifting the head too high, tensing the shoulders, and arching the lower back too much. It’s important to keep the neck long and relaxed, the shoulders away from the ears, and engage the core muscles to protect the lower back.
Can Superman Pose be practiced during pregnancy?
It is generally not recommended to practice Viparita Shalabhasana, also known as the Inverted Locust Pose or Superman Pose, during pregnancy. This is because backbends can put pressure on the abdominal area and lower back, which can be uncomfortable or even harmful for pregnant women.
Additionally, during pregnancy, it is important to avoid lying on your belly for extended periods of time. This is because lying on your belly can put pressure on the uterus and growing baby.
Instead, it is recommended to practice prenatal yoga poses that are safe and beneficial for pregnancy, such as gentle stretches, modified lunges, and pelvic floor exercises. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, especially during pregnancy.
If you are interested in practicing yoga during pregnancy, consider taking a prenatal yoga class or working with a qualified prenatal yoga teacher who can guide you through safe and effective practices.
A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it.
In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings.
After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva.
To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics.
Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga.
At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.