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Ushtrasana (camel pose)

 



 


 

The camel pose is a popular intermediate backbend that has a strong effect on the chest and upper back, improving posture and giving a stretch to the front side of the body from the thighs to the throat.

Ushtra – camel

 

Taking the position

1. Pre-pose vajrasan
2. Stand on the knees and keep the knees and feet separated, toes relaxed.
3. Lean backward slowly and place the hands on the respective heels (place the right hand on the right heel and then left hand on left heel).  Do not strain.  Push the abdomen forward.
4. Keep the thighs vertical and release the head and spine backward.  The weight of the body should be evenly supported by the legs and arms. 
5. If possible place the palms on the soles of the feet.  One can also keep the toes erect.

 

The Asana Position

In the position the neck is relaxed. The thighs are as vertical as possible and the chest is pushed open, drawing the shoulder blades towards each other. Hands are on the heels or soles of the feet and the feet are flat or toes may be erect.

 

Releasing the Asana Position

 

  • Slowly transfer the weight away from the hands and back into the torso, thighs and buttocks.
  • Lift one hand off the foot and starting to straighten the body, then lift the other hand, straightening the body so that it is vertical from the knees.
  • Lower the hips down to sit back in vajrasan.

 

Anatomical Focus

Chest, back, throat, pelvis, thighs, abdomen

 

Awareness

On the stretch from the thighs to the throat

Do’s

Keep the thighs vertical
Open the chest
Relax the neck
Push the pelvis forward

 

Don’ts

Let the pelvis fall back
Look forward, straining the neck
Keep the knees together but have some distance

 

Benefits

 

  • Improves digestion and prevents constipation.
  • Stretches the spinal nerves and helps remove tension in the back.
  • Opens the chest and expands the lungs.
  • Improves posture, especially if the shoulders are rounded.
  • Stretches the neck and thyroid.
  • Stretches the abdominal and pelvic region.
  • Helps increase efficiency of female reproductive system and helps balance hormones

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Therapeutic Applications

 

  • constipation
  • indigestion
  • female reproductive problems
  • mild back pain
  • asthma
  • thyroid problems

 

Precautions & Contra-indications

Avoid if severe back pain. Avoid if more simple back bends cause pain.Avoid if sciatica.
Release the pose slowly and don’t hold too long as it often feels fine when the pose is maintained but can cause discomfort when releasing. Avoid after 6 months of pregnancy or if it causes any kind of discomfort.

 

Duration

Hold asana for 20 seconds- 1 minute

 

Variations & Tips

 

  • Keep hands either in front of the chest or at the lower back if support is needed.
  • Use a small blanket under the knees if there is too much pressure on the knees.
  • If pelvis is falling back then decrease the arch by lifting the heels, making the toes erect.

 

Preparatory Poses

Bhujangasan - Cobra
Dhaurasan - Bow
Naukasan - Boat
Chakrasan - Wheel
Ardha ushtrasan – Half Camel
Tiryak ushtrasan–Diagonal Camel

 

Follow Up Poses

Shashankasan
Vajrasan yoga mudra
Poorna ushtrasan

 

Ancient Texts