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    Camel Pose: Ustrasana

    Purposes and Benefits:

    • Relieves back problems by compressing spine
    • Stimulates nervous system
    • Improves neck flexion
    • Flushes blood through kidneys
    • Promotes elimination of toxins
    • Opens shoulders, rib cage, lungs, and digestive system
    • Strengthens back and shoulder muscles
    • Invigorates and improves flexibility of neck and spine–especially thoracic spine
    • Extends throat, thyroid gland, and parathyroid glands
    • Helps cure constipation by stretching abdominal organs
    • Slims abdomen and waistline

    How to Do:
    (NOTE: If you feel dizzy during this pose, keep pushing your hips forward and remember to breathe. The backward bend causes a change in blood pressure, which can result in dizziness.)

    • Start with knees on floor and maintain 6 inches of space between knees and feet
    • Support spine by placing hands on back of hips with fingers pointing down
    • Keep elbows drawing in towards one another and let shoulders roll back
    • Inhale while lifting chest, and exhale while dropping head back
    • Inhale again while lifting chest, use hands to support spine, and exhale while arching torso back farther
    • Keep chest lifted throughout pose to minimize compression in lower back
    • Ensure that hips are forward and lined up above knees by doing these: Bring right hand down to grab right heel and left hand down to grab left heel; Put thumbs on outside of feet and place fingers on soles
    • Maintain tight grip on feet so you can push hips forward
    • If hips collapse back and you sink into spine as you grab heels, keep hands on hips and keep lifting chest
    • Keep arching spine back and work hips forward while lengthening tailbone down toward floor
    • Continue lifting chest to ensure that body weight hasn’t sunk back into heels and hands
    • If you’re feeling anxiety/fear, relax and breathe; breathing can also help you go more deeply into pose
    • (NOTE: If you have high blood pressure or any heart condition, please do the next step, which is holding the pose, for only 5 seconds. With more practice, you can gradually ease into the hold and increase the time.)
    • Breathe deeply as you hold pose for 20 seconds, and allow heart to open and lift
    • Reverse out of pose by bringing right hand to right hip, and then bring left hand to left hip
    • Press knees down and use abdominal strength to lift and straighten up spine