Ustrasana – Camel Pose – an intermediate yoga backbend, is a challenging pose that can bring up a lot of emotion. It opens Anahata Chakra (the heart chakra) and more generally, the front of the body. It stretches the abdomen and hip flexors, improves digestion, strengthens the spine and increases its mobility.
How to do Ustrasana:
- Start in a kneeling position with the hips stacked over the knees and the feet and knees hip-width apart. Place the palms on the lower back on either side of the spine. Draw the hips forward and the elbows in to open the chest.
- Inhale, lift the chest and gaze toward the sky. Exhale, follow the gaze backward into your yoga backbend.
- The hands might remain on the low back or, providing your hips can remain stacked over the knees you can reach back and take hold of the heels.
Ustrasana’s benefits are many! This pose is great therapy for anyone who sits at a desk or has rounded shoulders or a sunken chest. It requires knee and quadriceps strength and openness through the hip flexors. In folding into the backbend make sure you use all of the spine. Extend the thoracic and cervical spine and lift out of the lumbar spine so as not to create unnecessary compression through the lower back.