The Camel Pose, or Ustrasana, stretches and strengthens the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, abdomen, upper back, shoulders, and neck.
The Camel Pose can be done by:
1. Start in an upright position on your knees, allowing the tops of your feet to connect into the floor.
2. Place your hands on your lower back, drawing your elbows back towards each other to open the front of your shoulders.
3. Begin to lengthen the front of your body. Lifting your lower belly upwards and engaging the abdomen.
4. Start to bring the gaze of your eyes up towards the ceiling. If it feels comfortable for your neck to look all the way back to the wall behind you.
5. Keep reaching your hips forward, drawing your elbows back and engaging your abdomen as you stay here for a few deep and steady breaths.
6. If you feel comfortable you can release your hand from your lower back and reach back towards your heels while arching your upper back a little more. Otherwise, stay here and come out when you’re ready. Keep grounding through your knees and tops of the feet, while hugging your inner thighs in towards each other.
7. If it feels comfortable for your neck you can let your head hang a little further back, if not keep your chin slightly tucked into the chest.
8. Stay in this position for at least five breaths building up towards one minute. The gaze of the eyes can look towards your nose here.
9. Come slowly out of the pose by bringing the hands back to the hips, drawing the belly in and slowly lifting your head back to a neutral position.
Read the following cautions to stay safe:
• Be careful attempting this pose if you have lower back pain.
• Always listen to your body.
• When uncertain if this position is beneficial for you, please consult your physician about whether this practice is good for you.
• If you are new to this position it is a good idea to not bend too far. Just stay in the position where your hands are on the lower back and keep breathing deep and steady. • You can also tuck your toes under, so the heels are higher off the floor and easier to reach with your hands.
• If you have sensitive knees you can place a blanket under your knees.