What is Ustrasana (Camel Yoga Pose)
- The word Ustra means “camel” in Sanskrit as the final pose of this asana resembles that of a camel wherein you bend your back to get the shape of a camel.
- The Beginners for this asana include any age group including the elderly.
- Anyone can easily maintain the balance as the final pose is relatively easy to attain.
- If your occupation is a sedentary one which makes you work leaning forward for extended periods, then this is the right Yoga Pose for you.
Benefits of Ustrasana
- Helps correct posture
- Improves blood circulation to all the organs of the body
- Tones the muscles of the back and spine
- Removes stiffness in the shoulders, back, and ankles
- Relieves abdominal cramps
- This yoga pose is most helpful in stretching the flexors of the hip.
- Regulates menstrual flow
- Enhances resistance to infections
- This yoga pose is useful for mobility of the upper back and shoulders.
- Stimulates the adrenal, pituitary, pineal, and thyroid glands
- Increases lung capacity, and helps maintain the elasticity of lung tissue
- This Yoga asana helps in opening up the hips
- Tones the liver, kidneys, and spleen
- Tones the spine, relieving lower backaches and arthritic pain in the back
- Helps prevent varicose veins by toning the legs, hamstrings, and ankles
- This yoga pose helps in strengthening the muscles of the back and legs.
- Helps correct a prolapsed uterus, by stretching the pelvic area
- Improves blood circulation to the ovaries and tones them
- Relieves menstrual pain and the symptoms of menopause
- Strengthens the muscles of the arms.
- Stretches and strengthens the muscles of the chest.
- This Yoga pose tones the deep core muscles.
How to do Ustrasana (Camel Pose) – Step Wise Instructions
- Kneel on the floor with your arms by your sides.
- Keep your thighs, knees, and feet together.
- Rest on the front of your feet, with the toes pointing to the back. Keep your torso upright and
- breathe evenly.
- If keeping your knees together leads to a feeling of strain in your thighs, practice with your knees slightly apart.
- This also allows for a freer movement of the spine.
- Exhale, and place your palms on your buttocks.
- Push your thighs forward slightly and then pull them up toward your groin.
- Push your spine into your body.
- Then, gradually bend your back, and lower it toward the floor.
- Simultaneously, extend your rib cage and broaden your chest.
- Continue to breathe evenly.
- Push your shoulders back and stretch your arms from your shoulders toward your feet.
- Inhale, throw your head back, and hold both heels with your hands.
- Make sure that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
- Push your spine down toward your legs and breathe evenly.
- BEGINNERS Initially, hold one heel at a time by tilting each shoulder individually.
- Push your feet down on the floor.
- At the same time, press down on your soles with your palms.
- Your fingers should point toward your toes
- Tighten your buttocks and pull in your tailbone.
- Push your shoulder blades back.
- Take your head as far back as possible, but take care not to strain your throat.
- Stay in the pose for 30 seconds.
Advanced Work in the Pose
- Push your shins down on the floor, and press your palms down on your soles.
- Lift and stretch the length of your spine, so that your body forms an arch.
- Your chest, armpits, and back should coil inward, as this will support the back of your chest.
- Consciously suck in your back ribs, and feel your kidneys being drawn in and squeezed.
- Try to create a space first between the dome of the diaphragm and the navel; and second, between the navel and the groin.
- By doing this, you will be extending your abdominal and pelvic organs, as well as your intestines.
- Roll the inner sides of your upper arms to the front and the outer sides of your upper arms to the back.
- Keep your elbow joints locked.
- Breathe evenly.
Contraindications and Cautions
Do not practice this asana if you have
- Severe constipation
- Heart patients need to practice ustrasana with props
Actions of the joints involved in Ustrasana
- Spinal extension
- hip extension and internal rotation
- knee extension
- scapula downward rotation, adduction, elevation
- arm external rotation, extension, adduction
- elbow extension
In ustrasana, the thoracic structures are maintained in an “inhaled” position, and the abdominal wall is stretched.
This results in a decreased ability of the body to breathe “normally.”
The trick is to find support from the deeper musculature so
the more superficial efforts can quiet down.
Then it’s possible to notice an interesting relationship between the deepest layer of superficial neck muscles (scalenes) and the breath movement in the apex of the lungs, which are suspended
from the inner scalene muscles