The Camel pose or Ustrasana is a back bending pose in modern yogic practice. The pose helps in opening your shoulders and improves back flexibility. It also leads to an improvement in your mood and reduces anxiety and fatigue.
Camel pose steps, benefits and precautions
The name Ustrasana is derived from two Sanskrit words.
- ‘Ustra’ meaning camel
- ‘Asana’ meaning pose
The name of the backbending pose is based on the similarity of the posture with a camel.
How to do the camel pose?
Here is a step by step guide on how to the camel pose or ustrasana.
To get into the right position for the Camel pose, you have to kneel on the yoga mat. A lot of practitioners face discomfort while trying to do this in the initial stages. In such cases, it is advisable to use a yoga knee pad or a thick yoga mat for knee comfort.
To start, get into a kneeling position with your knees at a distance of your hip width. In this position, your thighs will be at a 90 degree angle to the floor and your heels will be facing in the upward direction.
Place both your hands on your back, on both sides of your body. Fingers of your hands should be pointing in the downward direction.
Take a deep breath and lift your chest up. At the same time, arch your back and lean back. As you straighten your arms, try to touch your heels with your arms. For some practitioners, it might be difficult to get into a deep backbend like this in the initial stages. They can use yoga blocks for support in such cases. At no point of time, try and stretch too much outside your comfort zone.
Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths. You can drop your head backwards as well but ensure that it does not feel uncomfortable. While maintaining the pose, don’t tighten your neck and keep it relaxed. Your shoulders also need to be in a relaxed position.
To release the pose, bring your neck in a straight position. At the same time, use your hands to provide support to your back as you bring your body back into the initial position of step one.
Benefits of the Camel pose
- As a backbending pose, the Camel pose helps in getting long term relief from back pain with regular practice.
- For people with lifestyle issues like perennially hunched shoulders and rounded back due to sitting on an office chair for long periods of time, Ustrasana can help in improving the overall body posture.
- This yoga pose helps in overcoming stress and fatigue and rejuvenates the body.
- With regular practice, there is substantial improvement in the strength of your back muscles, thighs and legs.
- The Camel pose stretches the front part of your body and opens your shoulders. This improves the flexibility and mobility of your back and shoulders.
- The Asana helps in improving the overall performance of your digestive system.
- Ustrasana helps in stimulating your endocrine glands and also reduces the presence of fat on your thighs and pelvis region.
Precautions and contraindications
- Anyone with issues of high/low blood pressure should avoid the Camel pose.
- It is not advisable for people suffering from sleep issues like Insomnia or problems like headache to practice this yoga pose.
- Practitioners who had a recent back, shoulder, neck or leg injury should be very careful while introducing Ustrasana in the practice as it can make the problem worse. In such cases, you should consult an experienced practitioner.