CAMEL POSE

(USTRASANA)

How To Perform

• Begin kneeling on the floor with knees about the width of your sitting bones and the hips and shoulders vertically above the knees.

• With the hands on the hips, gently lift internally from below the belly button and create an action of the ‘inside of the rib cage’ rising.

• Press the shins and feet to the floor and pull the shoulder heads backwards. Balance the rising in the chest with moving backwards with the shoulder heads and upper body to create the backbend.

• Pull the scapula against the back ribs and imagine you create a shelf with them to lift the chest.

• Keep the hips over the knees rather than falling backwards so the focus is on the spine rather than the quadriceps.

• If it feels safe and appropriate, take the head back between the shoulder blades without compressing the back of the neck. If there is pain or anxiety, keep the head looking forward or gently upwards.

 

Actions

• Keep the shins and feet pressing down. 

• Lift the bottom of the abdomen.

• Balance the lifting of the chest with arcing the spine backwards.

• Engage muscles on the back of the body to expand the font.

Benefits

• Opens front of the body and stimulates the flow of energy in the heart centre and throat.

• Great for stretching hip fexors and balancing a ‘sitting lifestyle’.

• Provides gentle compression of the kidneys in the pose and when released allows blood to flow freely.

Modifications

• Practise this with your pelvis against the wall so you have a reference for keeping the hips over the knees.

• To keep the legs active, squeeze a block between the thighs.

• If there is any lower back pain, reduce the degree of back bending and focus on the lifting of the centre of the chest.

• Place two blocks outside the ankles and release the hands onto the blocks.

Contraindications

• Proceed with caution if you have high blood pressure.

• Low back injuries.