Camel Pose

Camel Pose - Ustrasana

Camel Pose – Ustrasana

I have presented this yoga pose in three phases. As a beginner, you may need to stay in Phase 1 or Phase 2 for quite some time. Do not be discouraged by this. Please keep practicing regularly and enjoy the pose in whatever modified version you can do today. Use caution as you move through the phases. Pay attention to your body and do not allow yourself to feel pain. If you feel pain, back out of the pose slightly until the pain is no longer present.

Phase 1

1. Kneel on the floor with your legs hip width apart.
2. Clasp your hands behind your back.
3. Look up and lean back, arching your spine. Only go as far as you comfortably can.
4. Feel the stretch in your stomach, front of the neck, and shoulders.
5. Take long, deep breaths as you hold this pose.
6. Come back up slowly, first tucking the neck, and then bringing the spine straight.

Phase 2

1. In the next phase of Camel pose, come into a kneeling position and place the bottom of your toes on the floor, back of the heels facing the ceiling.
2. We will now begin the back-bend. First, place your hands palms down against the lower part of the back. Slowly look up and lean back, arching the spine.
3. Take your hands and clasp the tops of the heels. Be sure your pelvis doesn’t jut out, but rather stays in a straight line with your knees. If dropping both hands behind you towards your heels is too much, twist the spine to drop one hand first, and then the other.
4. Relax the head back, stretching the front of the neck. Keep a firm grip on the heels and be sure the elbows are facing the wall behind you.
5. Hold the pose with several long, deep breaths
6. To come out of the pose, place the hands palms down on the lower back. Bring the neck and chest forward slowly, leading with the chest, not the chin. Come to back to a kneeling position.
7. Come into child’s pose as a counter pose.

Phase 3

1. In Phase 3, we do exactly as we did in Phase 2, however the toes are not curled under. Rather the tops of the feet are pressed firmly into the floor. Follow directions in Phase 2 with the feet in this position.

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