Camel Pose aka Ustrasana is a beautiful back bend that requires patience and precision. This is a great posture to use the breath to gage just how deep you should go in it. If you notice your breath getting shallow and choppy, listen and back off.
Start on the knees with the shins on the earth. Feet, ankles, shins, knees, and thighs are hip distance apart. The toes point straight back.
Depending on your flexibility you will keep the tops of the feet on the earth or you will tuck all ten toes.
Bring your hand to your lower back. Fingers can be facing up towards the sky or down towards the earth, whichever is most comfortable for you.
Lengthen the tailbone down to the ground and engage the core gently by drawing the navel in and up towards the spine.
Slowly and mindfully begin to bend your torso backwards while you shine the heart towards the sky.
Press your hips and upper thighs towards the front of the room. Make sure you are not gripping your glutes.
If this is comfortable and you would like to go deeper bring your hands to your heels with your fingers facing back.
The gaze can be up to the sky or towards the back of the room just ensure you are not crunching your neck and do what is most comfortable. Some feel keeping the neck straight is the safest route to go.
Pay attention to your breath it should be slow and even if you notice it is not back off a bit.
After 5 or more breaths put your hands back on your lower back and come back up using your core
- For Beginners start with your hands pressing into your lower back. This will support your spine. You can use the leverage from your arms to widen the chest and lift your heart towards the sky.
- Eventually you will work your hands to your heals when you’re body is ready. Use caution and listen to your body. There is a tendency to dump into the lower spine and this could cause injury. You want to keep the opening and backbend in the upper spine and the stretch across the front of the chest.
- Hand Position 2: If your hands can’t comfortably touch your heals try tucking your toes which will elevate your heals. You may also try placing two blocks on the tall setting on the outsides of your heels and drop your hands onto the blocks.
Modifications, Props & Tips
- You may place a block the long way in between your thighs (also highly recommended for Beginners). Keep squeezing into the block and trying to roll it to the back of the room. This will help to keep your legs engaged which will protect and support your spine.
- You can also try this posture against the wall. Face the wall and press your thighs against the wall.
- Stretches the chest, abdominal muscles, quads and hip flexors
- Improves flexibility of the spine
- Promotes digestion
- Energize the body & mind
- High or low blood pressure, insomnia, or a migraine.
- Low back or neck injury