Camel Pose in yoga or Ustrasana is one of the important pose of Hatha Yoga. Where “Ustra” means a “camel” in the Sanskrit language and “Asana” means “Pose” that’s why the name “Camel Pose.”
This pose is an intermediate-level back-bending pose. It is also a good chest opener pose. In this pose, the entire spine is bent backward and the chest and upper belly look like the back of a camel.
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Camel Pose In Yoga (Ustrasana)
In the realm of yoga, each pose holds its unique essence, offering a plethora of physical and emotional benefits. One such pose that exemplifies beauty and openness is Camel Pose (Ustrasana).
In this article, we will explore the elegance of Camel Pose, understand its significance, and delve into the myriad of advantages it brings to your practice.
Understanding Camel Pose In Yoga
Camel Pose, or Ustrasana in Sanskrit, is a heart-opening backbend that symbolizes vulnerability and courage. As you gracefully arch your back and open your heart, this pose encourages you to embrace your true self, allowing emotions to flow freely.
Camel Pose invites you to release tension in the shoulders, chest, and hips, fostering a profound sense of emotional release and freedom.
Camel Pose In Yoga (Ustrasana) Basic Details
Camel Pose Benefits The Following Muscles:
- Upper Back
- Middle Back
- Lower Back
Story of the camel from Mahabharata
There is an interesting story about a lazy camel in the Shanti parva of Mahabharata. There was a lazy camel who did not want to go out to get food. So it remained in one place and prayed to Brahma.
God Brahma gave him a long neck so that camel can eat all the leaves of the trees from the higher branches without much effort. The lazy camel tried that way and in greediness, it inserted its neck into a cave.
There was a fox inside the cave that bit the head of the camel and injured it.
How to do Camel Pose Yoga – Steps
- Kneel on the floor, keeping your thighs and your feet together, your toes should be pointing back and resting on the floor.
- Put your palms on your hips and stretch your thighs. Now curve your spine and extend your ribs.
- Now breathe out and place your left palm over your left heel and your right palm over your right heel. Try to place your palms on your sales of the feet, if possible.
- Put pressure on the feet with your palms and throw your head backward. Push your spine towards your thighs and make sure to keep it perpendicular to the floor.
- Contract your buttocks and further stretch the dorsal and coccyx region of your spine, while keeping your neck stretched back.
- You can hold this position for about half a minute with normal breathing.
- To come out of the pose release your hands one by one and place them on your hips. Then sit on the floor and relax.
Camel Pose Benefits
Camel Pose, is a transformative yoga posture that offers a myriad of physical and emotional benefits. From improving posture to activating energy centers, Camel Pose is a versatile asana that can be beneficial for people of all ages and physical conditions.
1. Correcting Hunched Back and Dropping Shoulders
Camel Pose is a boon for individuals suffering from a hunched back and rounded shoulders. By gracefully arching the back and lifting the chest, this asana helps in aligning the spine and correcting poor posture.
2. Toning and Stretching the Spine
Through the gentle backbend in Camel Pose, the spine is toned and stretched, promoting flexibility and mobility in the entire back region.
3. Suitable for Spinal Injuries and Elderly Individuals
Contrary to its advanced appearance, Camel Pose is accessible to those with spinal injuries and elderly practitioners. With proper modifications and guidance, it can be practiced safely to enhance spinal health and mobility.
4. A Boon for Gymnasts and Dancers
Camel Pose is highly beneficial for gymnasts and dancers as it enhances flexibility in the back and hip flexors, enabling them to perform intricate movements with ease.
5. Activating the Heart Chakra
Camel Pose helps activate the Heart Chakra, also known as Anahat Chakra, which is considered the energy center for self-love and universal compassion. Through this heart-opening asana, practitioners can experience a sense of emotional release and connection.
6. Stimulating the Throat Chakra
The deep neck stretch in Camel Pose stimulates the Throat Chakra, or Vishuddha Chakra, which balances the energies of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. This activation improves communication and self-expression.
7. Cultivating Confidence and Self-Esteem
Practicing Camel Pose instills confidence and self-esteem in individuals, fostering a positive self-image and a sense of empowerment.
8. Resolving Emotional Conflicts
Camel Pose is particularly helpful for those dealing with emotional conflicts, such as selfishness, jealousy, and possessiveness. By cleansing conflicting energies, this asana promotes clarity in communication and emotional healing.
9. Enhancing the Respiratory System
As a potent chest opener, Camel Pose improves lung capacity and the respiratory system, making it beneficial for individuals dealing with asthma and bronchitis.
10. Stimulating the Digestive System
The abdominal stretch in Camel Pose stimulates the digestive system, aiding in alleviating constipation, lack of appetite, and colitis.
11. Healing the Reproductive System
Camel Pose has positive effects on the reproductive system, benefiting individuals with urinary bladder, kidney, ovarian, prostate, and testicular disorders.
12. Aiding Menstrual Issues (except during menstruation)
Camel Pose can help treat irregular and painful menstruation. However, it is essential to avoid practicing this pose during menstruation.
Camel Pose and Emotional Healing
Camel Pose is believed to have a profound effect on the heart chakra, the energetic center associated with love and compassion. As you open your heart in this pose, you may experience a sense of vulnerability, yet it is through this vulnerability that emotional healing can occur.
Allow yourself to connect with your emotions, acknowledge any unresolved feelings, and let them flow freely during your practice. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and inner healing that Camel Pose offers.
1. Pregnant women and menstruation: –
Women during pregnancy and postnatal should avoid this pose and women, in general, should not practice this pose during menstruation although the regular practice of this pose will help women to treat irregular and painful menstruation.
2. Body Breath connection:-
During this pose it is very important to be aware of body-breath connections. The proper alignment of the knees and feet along with the breath awareness is very much needed for this backbend pose.
Those practitioners who lack this body breath awareness should avoid this pose and yoga teachers should also make students aware of this concept.
Practitioners suffering from high blood pressure, epilepsy, migraine, vertigo, acute back pain, slipped discs, advanced spondylitis, etc should avoid this pose. Practitioners who have undergone any sort of trauma in their lives need to be careful while practicing this pose.
People having weak body structures should either avoid this pose or must do it under the guidance of an expert yoga trainer.
Camel Pose Safely: Precautions and Alignment Tips
To practice Camel Pose safely and effectively, keep the following precautions and alignment tips in mind:
- Warm-Up: Before attempting Camel Pose, ensure your body is warmed up with gentle stretches and preparatory poses.
- Engage Your Core: Activate your core muscles during the backbend to protect your lower back and provide support for your spine.
- Gradual Backbend: Slowly arch your back and avoid pushing beyond your comfort level to prevent strain or injury.
How Long to Hold Camel Pose
The duration of holding Camel Pose can vary based on your practice level and comfort. As a beginner, start by holding the pose for 20-30 seconds and gradually increase the time as you become more familiar with the backbend.
Remember to breathe deeply and relax into the pose, allowing your body and heart to open naturally.
Preparatory and Follow-Up Poses for Camel Pose
- Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Camel Pose Modifications
- If you find this pose challenging then a few easy ways can be followed to practice this yoga pose.
- You can take support of the wall; by kneeling in front of the wall with your stomach close to the wall you can bring your entire body close to the wall. You can push the wall with your stomach, while taking the support bring your arms behind and bend backward.
- You can take the help of the chair by placing it close to your back and keeping your legs pushed inside the legs of the chair. While using the support of the arms of the chair you can stretch your arms behind you.
- If your knees are sensitive then you can use some blankets or cushions under them.
- If your arms do not reach the floor or your heels then you can take them behind you and place them on the chair placed behind you or on the wall.
- If someone is suffering from a stiff neck then he can use the support of a cushioned stool just close to the neck for support. You can place the stool close to the wall so that it doesn’t slip.
Tips for beginners
- The practitioners must open their chests and lift their rib cages bending gently into the backbend; they should not worry if their hands do not reach for their feet.
- The practitioner must point the tailbone toward the floor before bending backward and then slightly gently push the pelvis forward.
- You must engage your quads to keep your thighs at a right angle at your knees on the floor.
- Your knees should not be wider than hip-width apart and don’t squeeze your buttocks or pooch your belly out.
In a Camel pose in yoga (Ustrasana) the focus is on the thighs and the entire back, bending backward and inwards. This pose requires body movement with perfect alignment and connection of the breath with the movement of the back.
When you are doing this pose for the first time it is always advisable to do it under the guidance of an expert teacher.
FAQ: Camel Pose
What is the camel pose good for?
The camel pose is a Chest opener pose it stretches the front body that includes the chest, abdomen, and quadriceps. It stretches and stimulates the entire spinal code.
Helps in developing better posture, hunched back and dropping shoulders, good for gymnasts and dancers, and helps to clean emotional energies.
Why is camel pose so difficult?
There are lots of physical and emotional tensions in our chest, while Camel Pose opens up and stretches the entire front side of the body.
Camel Pose is an intermediate pose, with regular practice as the practitioner gains flexibility in the body, which will help to perform this pose easily after some time.
How to do camel pose for beginners?
The step-by-step procedure to do this pose is given above in the article and also tips for beginners to take care of while performing this asana.
What is Ustrasana and its benefits?
Ustrasana is a chest opener back bending pose which has many benefits for the practitioners. It helps people suffering from hunched back and dropping shoulders, spinal injuries, good for gymnasts and dancers.
It helps to activate the heart Chakra, balances the energies of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, helps to gain stamina and self-esteem.
It is helpful to people having lots of emotional conflicts, helps in asthma and bronchitis,
It helps in constipation, lack of appetite and colitis, helps to cure disorders of the urinary bladder, Kidneys, ovaries, prostate, and testes, helps in treating irregular and painful mensuration, etc.
You May Also Like:
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
- Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
- Wheel pose(Chakrasana)
- Sirsasana (Headstand)
Share your experience of doing Camel Pose (Ustrasana) and let us know if you have any questions or comments regarding this Pose in the comments section below.