ustra = camel
Sanskrit Name: Ustrasana
- Start by kneeling on the ground with your legs hip width apart. You should be keeping your pelvis down without engaging your glutes too much. It is important to remain relaxed, and not to tense up your hips. As you press the tops of your feet into the ground, also make an effort to do the same with your shins.
- Once you have a comfortable kneeling position, place your hands on your lower back, in where the squishy part of your hands are on your upper buttocks – your fingers pointing towards to earth. Slowly lengthen and lean back. Make sure you aren’t straining your lower back by leaning too far backwards. Breathe and press your shoulder blades together to open the chest.
- Keep your head up, and stay here if you feel your hip flexors, and the entire front of your body in a stretch. Don’t push yourself too much! However, if this is too easy, you can work to reach your arms back to your heals.
I know personally this pose is extremely difficult for me to do for an extended period of time. If you are the same, do it in small increments and try the preparatory poses before tackling Camel Pose. Some people find this pose can cause back and neck pain or headaches from the blood rush. If this happens to you, make an effort to talk to your instructor and confirm you are doing the pose correctly. If it is still a problem, don’t push yourself! You do not need to be perfect at every pose.
In saying all the before-mentioned in regards to perhaps inhibiting reasons to do this pose, there ARE several benefits, or else it wouldn’t be a commonly practiced pose.
– Helps respiratory ailments,
– Stretches and actually improves an aching back
– Wakes up the body
– Reduces anxiety
– Aids in menstrual discomfort
– Stretches commonly un-stretched areas (front of the body, ankles, thighs, groins, abdomen, chest, throat, hip flexors)
– Strengthens and stretches back
– Improves posture
– Stimulates internal organs