1/15/14

Yoga Pose Of the Week: Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Happy Thursday! Today I am going to start what I hope to become a regular thing, Yoga Pose of the Week! Today I want to talk about ustrasana, or camel pose. 


Camel pose has a few different variations. The one pictured above and below are fairly common...when I think of camel pose, this is what I think of. 


Camel pose is a beautiful heart opener with many benefits:

  • Camel Pose creates maximum compression of the spine, which stimulates the nervous system.

  • It also improves flexibility of the neck and spine, relieves backache, and helps degenerative spinal problems.

  • By stretching the abdominal organs, Camel helps constipation, and it also stretches the throat and thyroid and parathyroid glands.*

Ustrasana is a pose that should be worked up to if you aren't familiar or comfortable in backbends. I would also recommend warming up before attempting this if you aren't familiar with the pose!

Ustrasana: Camel Pose Tutorial
  1. Start by kneeling upright with your knees hip-distance apart. Rotate the thighs inward and press your shins and the tops of your feet into the floor. 
  2. Rest your hands on your lower back, fingers pointing downward. Lengthen the tailbone into the floor.
  3. Lean backwards, tucking your chin toward your chest. If you are doing a modification, this pose, with your hands on your lower back, can serve as your final position. Hold for thirty seconds and slowly straighten your spine.
  4. If you are moving forward, reach back and hold onto both of your heels. If you can't fully grip your heel, rest your fingertips on top of them. If you are comfortable, fully rest your palms on your heels. 
  5. If you are feeling pain in your lower back, tuck your toes to push your heels up. Keep your head in either a neutral position or, if comfortable, let it drop back softly, gaze upward or back. 
  6. When releasing, bring your hands back to your hips, front of back, and lift your chest up while pushing your hips to the floor. Bring your head up last.
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When I finish camel pose, I almost always go directly into child's pose (balasana) to relieve the pressure from my spine. It's such a refreshing feeling.

Below are a few variations. The first is where you can stop if you can't extend your arms just yet. The last two are just fun versions I tried. Actually, they're the same version but different attempts, the second in which was after my practice and I was able to get deeper into.




I'm not a yoga instructor or personal trainer, just a yogi wanting to spread the love! Consult a physician or trainer before attempting a new workout routine and always use caution when trying new poses.

Do you like backbends? What's your favorite version of ustrasana?


8 comments:

  1. I love and hate camel pose depending on the day haah. Sometimes it hurts my back....wahhhhh but if I had to choose I'd probably just pick wheel, as long as I don't hold it for super long. I feel like wheel works your whole back whereas camel pose emphasizes your lower back, so that's why I only kind of like it haha.

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    1. Haha I know what you mean! It can be painful if you aren't feeling it or warmed up enough. I love wheel pose!

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  2. I love this idea for a new series! Camel pose is a pose I only like to stay in for a brief period of time because I find it hard to breathe in that pose (less because of the difficulty like, for example, with pigeon pose and more because of the way it compresses my body). I have never seen the last variation. Very cool!

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    1. Thank you! I am hoping it will be beneficial for someone...anyone! I am constantly looking for tutorial for poses so maybe this will serve as a good one. I know exactly what you mean about breathing! It is difficult in this pose, definitely.

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  3. <3 Camel Pose! It makes me feel like my whole front can stretch at the same time. I roll my shoulders back and really open my throat and chest, and I feel like I could stay there all day!

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  4. I love this tutorial! Thank you so much!

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