Ustra = Camel : Asana = Posture or Pose
Ustrasana is an intermediate level back-bending yoga posture known to open Anahata (Heart chakra). This yoga posture adds flexibility and strength to the body and also helps in improving digestion.
How to do Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Kneel on the yoga mat and place your hands on the hips.
- Your knees should be in line with the shoulders and the sole of your feet should be facing the ceiling.
- As you inhale, draw in your tail-bone towards the pubis as if being pulled from the navel.
- Simultaneously, arch your back and slide your palms over your feet till the arms are straight.
- Do not strain or flex your neck but keep it in a neutral position.
- Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.
- Breathe out and slowly come back to the initial pose. Withdraw your hands and bring them back to your hips as you straighten up.
When you are starting off, it can be difficult to reach for your feet with your hands, without causing a strain in your back or neck. You can turn your toes, and elevate your heels. If you still can’t reach for your legs, use a wooden block and place both your hands on them.
Make sure you do not hold this pose for more than 20 seconds when you are a beginner.
Benefits of the Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Improves digestion.
- Stretches and opens the front of the body. It also strengthens the back and shoulders.
- Relieves the body of lower back ache.
- Improves flexibility of the spine and also improves posture.
- Helps overcome menstrual discomfort.
It boosts energy and fight fatigue
Can help build confidence and empowerment
Improves posture and counteracts the effects of sitting and computer work
May help relieve back pain
Can counteract slouching and kyphosis of the spine
Stretches your abdomen, chest, shoulders, front of your hips (hip flexors), and front of your thighs (quadriceps)
Strengthens your back muscles, back of your thighs, and buttocks (gluteals)
Science Behind The Ustrasana
This asana is an amazing stretch. It works towards opening up the front of your body while also opening your pectoral muscles and hip flexors. It also tones the limbs, thighs, chest, and abdomen. So, basically, the entire frontal region and the sides of our bodies get involved in this asana.
It also slowly, but surely, works on the circulatory, respiratory, lymphatic, skeletal, endocrine, and digestive systems in the body. Whether you are suffering from diabetes, asthma, thyroid, parathyroid, spondylitis, or bronchitis, this asana works as therapy on all of them. Doctors also recommend this asana to people who are obese or have issues with the kidneys or reproductive systems. It is also said to heal colitis, constipation, and dyspepsia.
The Kundalini stream of yoga believes that this asana can open and awaken the heart chakra.
Contraindications of the Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Back injury or neck injury, high or low blood pressure: Perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced teacher.
Avoid or modify if you feel any pinching or pain in your low back
Avoid or modify if you have any shoulder pain, shoulder arthritis, or shoulder injuries
Avoid or modify if you have any back pain or injuries, including surgeries.
- For most, it is best not to drop your head back in this pose, particularly if you have a neck injury or are at risk for stroke. Instead, lift your chin slightly and use your neck muscles to stabilize your head in place.