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Camel Pose

Ustrasana


Camel is a deep heart opening posture that strengthens your back while freeing your neck, chest, lungs, abdominals, and thighs.

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Step By Step

  1. Come to a kneeling position and place your knees and feet hip-width distance apart. Bring your thighs perpendicular to the floor to begin. Press the tops of your feet, toes, and shins into the floor. Keep your pelvis neutral and your pelvic floor muscles engaged.
  2. Lengthen your spine and lift your chest. Place your hands behind your back with your palms to your lower back/upper gluteal area. Draw your elbows in slightly and engage your upper back.
  3. As you inhale, lift and expand your chest and reach back to take hold of your heals (one hand at a time) without compressing your lower back. Keep your shoulder blades firm against your back. If you are not able to reach your heals, you can curl your toes under to bring them closer, or keep your hands on your lower back until you gain more flexibility.
  4. Either your head and neck neutral and look up toward the ceiling, or drop your head back if it is comfortable for you. Be mindful not to strain or compress your neck.
  5. Keep your glutes firm but not overly contracted.
  6. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing as deeply as you can. Release slowly onto your knees and rest for several breaths.
Pose Name

Benefits

  • Stretches the neck, chest, shoulder, abdomen, hip flexor, thigh, and shin muscles
  • Increases spinal mobility
  • Aids in deeper breathing by opening respiratory muscles
  • Strengthens back, inner thigh, and gluteal muscles
  • Builds heat and increases stamina

Contraindications

  • Pregnancy - check with doctor
  • Back, neck, or disc injury
  • Knee injury
  • Low or high blood pressure

Modifications

  • If you are not able to reach your heals with your toes pointed, you can flex your feet and curl your toes under to bring your heals closer to you. You can also keep your hands to your lower back/gluteal muscle area until you gain the mobility to reach your feet
  • You may place a block in between your thighs to help you engage inner thighs and find more length and stability

Chakras

This posture stimulates and balances the Heart Chakra (Anahata) which is associated with trust, unconditional love, and forgiveness.