How to perform Camel Pose
Assume a kneeling position. Then, open your chest and shoulders as you reach back towards your feet. To decrease the intensity of the bend, lay a bolster over your ankles.
What is Ustrasana?
Camel pose. An important early backbending asana. The pose helps to correct slouching and collapsed chest. The spinal muscles become strong and toned, and the health of the spine is improved. Unlike the prone “belly-down backbends,” in Ustrasana, the practitioner learns to arch backward while working with gravity.
This provides a grounding for other, more advanced backbends which one also enters working with gravity (e.g., Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana, entered from Sirsasana, or Urdhva Dhanurasana, entered from standing).
When to use Ustrasana?
As with all the backbends, Ustrasana is beneficial to the spine and chest. It strengthens the back muscles and encourages elasticity and movement in the spinal column. The opening of the chest brings energy and a sense of optimism. Ustrasana also combats stiffness in the knees, ankles, and shoulders.
This pose can help to correct one’s posture, as it cultivates strength in the supporting back muscles. However, it may be difficult to reach the feet at first. If this is the case, blocks can be used for the hands (placed either side of the feet), or a bolster can be placed across the soles of the feet, to make the backbend more accessible.