Hatha Yoga Tip
USTRASANA – CAMEL POSE – A backward bend – Beginner and intermediate level.
Starting position: Kneel on mat , body straight up with knees and feet hip width apart. Feet point back. Breathe slowly and rhythmically. Arms hang loosely.
Supporting the lower back with both hands, bend backward on an inhalation. Take head back first, then shoulders and chest, then the lower back. Keep supporting the lower back with elbows close together. Hold for up to 30 seconds breathing rhythmically . Either deepen the pose or come out of pose by inhaling, contracting abdomen, and lifting your body up. Relax in child’s pose.
Coming into full pose:
From the back bend position with hands on lower back, take the hands one at a time and place on the ankles, taking the shoulders back. Keep hips/pelvis forward, contracting the back of the thighs. Lift the chest. Hold up to 30 seconds. Breathe from the abdomen slowly and rhythmically. On an inhalation, contract the abdomen and bring your body back up. The pose can be repeated. Relax in child’s pose at least 8 breaths.
From the backbend position if there is difficulty in reaching the ankles with the hands, curl the toes to give the ankles a little height until you feel comfortable enough in this pose to leave the feet flat. There should only be minimum weight on the hands in the full camel pose.
A deep chest stretch.
Increases lung capacity.
A throat stretch.
A back strengthener
Increases spinal flexibility.
Balance is required, thus strengthening the musculature of the back, abdomen, buttocks and legs.
Strengthening of the hamstrings.
This yoga asana is an edited contribution for the Sivananda Gurugram partly sourced and edited from the Sivananda Publication: “Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion” – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre – 2010.
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