Ushtrasana : The Camel Pose

The Sanskrit word ushtra means camel..Camel Pose, or Ushtrasana, is the Queen of back bends - this classic pose is strong, elegant and inspiring. However, it needs to be approached mindfully,with care. Beginners should build up to Camel with softer back bends such as Cobra or Sphinx. Those with lower back problems should avoid altogether.

Ushtrasana : The Camel Pose - Detailed Description


"Having stretched the feet on the ground, like a stick, and having grasped the toes of both feet with both hands, when one sits with the forehead resting on the thighs, it is called Pascimo-tana-asana" (or ugra-asana). This Pascimo-tana carries air from the front to the back part of the body. It kindles gastric fire, reduces obesity and cures all diseases of men" - Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika I.30-31
Steps:
  1. Sit up on the knees with the heels of the feet pressed against the buttocks and the calves of the legs flat on the floor.
  2. Reaching backward, grasp the left ankle with the left hand and right ankle with the right hand.
  3. Inhale through the nostrils and lift the buttocks off the legs arching the back and thrusting the abdomen forward and tilt the head as far back as possible.
  4. Either hold the posture for the duration of the inhale breath or breath gently through the nostrils while holding the posture.
  5. Exhale and return to the kneeling position.
  6. Hold the posture for the duration of the inhaled breath. If you choose to breath while holding the ushtra-asana, hold it for between thirty seconds to one minute. Repeat the posture three times.
Benefits:
  • This pose helps expand the chest and thus increases lung capacity.
  • Stimulates the organs of the throat and abdomen.
  • The entire chest, abdomen and neck get a good stretching making them flexible.
  • Slouching can be rectified with regular practice of Ushtrasana.
  • The lumbar vertebrae are massaged and they attain flexibility. Stretches and strengthens the back muscles, deep hip flexors (psoas), thighs, ankles, groin and the front of the whole body.
  • Helps improves posture
Tips and Help:
  • People with neck or lower back injury should not perform this pose.
  • High and low blood pressure patients should avoid this pose.
  • If you suffer from migraine, do not practice Ushtrasana.
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