What is Ustrasana
Camel pose. An important early backbending asana. The pose helps correct slouching and collapsed chest. The spinal muscles become strong and toned, and the health of the back is improved. Unlike the prone “belly-down backbends”, in Ustrasana, the practitioner learns to arch backward while working with gravity (rather than against gravity).
This provides a grounding for later, more complex backbendings where one also enters working with gravity such as Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana, entered from Sirsasana, or Urdhva Dhanurasana, dropback 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.
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 reaching back more accessible.