Locust pose is a great way to slowly strengthen your back and prepare you for more challenging backbends as your yoga practice progresses. In addition to working the muscles of the spine, locust strengthens the buttocks and the muscles on the back side of the arms and legs. It will also stretch the chest, shoulders and thighs.
How to do it: Lie on your belly with your forehead on the floor and your hands by your hips, palms facing up. Point your big toes toward each other slightly to roll your thighs inward. As you exhale, lift your head, chest, arms and legs off the floor. Rest your weight on your belly, lower ribs and pelvis. As you inhale, lengthen your spine by stretching your head forward and your legs backward. Stretch back through your fingertips while keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Look down or slightly forward to avoid crunching your neck backward. Lower down on an exhale.
How to get better: As you hold the pose, think about lengthening your spine on every inhale and lifting the chest and legs slightly higher on each exhale. If you feel pinching in the back, lower the chest and legs slightly.