Ustrasana or Camel Pose
Beginers may attain only a limited backward bend in this posture in the early stages, whereas more experienced masters may carry out a deeper bend in which the head go down close to the ground.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Camel Pose (Ustrasana):
- Kneel on the ground with your knees hip width and thighs upright to the ground. Rotate your thighs inward a bit, narrow your hip points but don’t make stiff your bumps. Visualize that you’re stretching your sitting bones up, into your torso. Put your outer hips as soft as possible. Squeeze your shins and the tops of your feet strongly into ground.
- Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, bases of the palms on the tops of the bumps, fingers pointing down. Use your hands to give the back pelvis and stretch it down through your tail bone. Then smoothly make stronger the tail ahead, toward the pubis. Remember though that your front groins don’t “pull” ahead. To prevent this, squeeze your front thighs back, responding the forward action of your tail. Respire and lift your heart by forcing the shoulder blades onto your back ribs.
- Now lean back against the stiffness of the tail bone and shoulder blades. For the time being keep your head up, chin near the sternum, and your hands on the pelvis. If you need to, tilt the thighs back a little from the vertical and basically twist to one side to get one hand on the same-side foot. Then squeeze your thighs back to upright, turn your torso back to neutral, and touch the second hand to its foot. If you’re unable to touch your feet without flattening your lower back, turn your toes under and raise your heels.
- Notice that your lower front ribs aren’t jutting out sharply toward the ceiling, which stiffens the belly and compresses the lower back. Set free the front ribs and raise the front of the pelvis up, toward the ribs. Then raise the lower back ribs distantly from the pelvis to keep the lower spine in as much as possible. Squeeze your palms strongly against your heels, with the bases of the palms on the heels and the fingers pointing toward the toes. Turn your arms externally so the elbow folds face forward, without squeezing the shoulder blades together. You can hold your neck in a relatively unbiased position, neither curve nor expanded, or hang your head rear. But be careful not to injure your neck and stiffened your throat.
- Remain in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. To exit, hold your hands against the front of your pelvis, at the hip points. Breathe in and raise the head and torso up by thrusting the hip points lower, toward the ground. If your head is back, go ahead with your heart to come up, not by protruding the chin toward the ceiling and leading with your brain.
Benefits of Camel Pose (Ustrasana):
- Opens your chest, stretches your shoulders and abdominal wall
- Strengthens your neck, back, glutes and legs
- Treatment for digestive complaints
- Increases core strength
- Increases flexibility
- Reduces fat on thighs
- Improves digestion
If you can't reach your heels, then leave your hands on your glutes. You might feel a little dizzy at first, but just focus on your breath. Try not to rush into it.
Those who have problems related to neck, knee or back injury should avoid this asana “camel pose”. Person undergoing from high or low blood pressure and migraine should keep away this asana or consult your physician for suggestions.