What Is Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Ustrasana, which is more popularly known as the ‘Camel Pose’, is a yoga posture that has several benefits for the body. The Sanskrit translation of Ustrasana can be broken down as below:
‘Ustra’ stands for camel, whereas ‘Asana’ stands for posture. Hence, the name ‘Camel Pose.’
This pose is effective in calming the mind while also ensuring that your core is engaged and strengthened.
Performing the camel yoga pose benefits the body in the following ways:
- Helps in stretching out the deep hip flexors, which further promotes greater hip flexibility.
- The asana can also help improve your posture because it focuses on stretching out your back, thereby helping to straighten it.
- Effective in providing relief from lower back pain by helping your hip flexors open up.
- Provides good blood circulation to all the organs because the whole body engages in this yoga asana.
- While stretching out your upper body to do Ustrasana, you are essentially stretching out your back and shoulders. This aids in improving your mobility.
- Ustrasana benefits the female body by opening up the pelvic area. This effect can be linked to reduced menstrual pain in the abdomen, ovaries, etc.
- The asana emphasises the opening up of the leg muscles, ankles, and hamstrings (the muscles at the back of your thighs). These Ustrasana benefits can help prevent conditions like varicose veins.
- Toning up the thighs, hips, glutes, and back muscles is a direct result of regularly doing the camel pose and also holding the pose for about a minute.
- Every yoga pose is done by regulating your breathing pattern. While doing the camel pose, too, you will have to regulate your breathing (while getting into the pose, holding it, and then leaving the pose). This breathing exercise helps enhance lung capacity, which increases the elasticity of the lung tissue.
- While stretching your entire upper body backwards, you engage your core, back, and throat. This has a greater and positive impact on your adrenal, thyroid, pituitary, and pineal glands.
- The energy flow associated with the camel pose helps align and provide energy to your chakras (the body’s energy centres).
- Ustrasana benefits your body by helping to get rid of fatigue and even anxiety at times.
- It is also beneficial to get rid of constipation and other abdominal-related issues, as it completely stretches out this particular region.
Also Read: Yoga for PCOS: 6 Best Yoga Poses for PCOS
Ustrasana Steps - How to Do Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
There are several steps involved in getting into Ustrasana. You should follow these steps of Ustrasana to reap the maximum benefits of this yoga posture:
- Sit on the yoga mat on your knees. Now open up your legs to get them at hips apart-width.
- Make sure your hips align with your knees and squeeze your thighs inwards (towards each other). The soles of your feet should be facing upwards.
- Now, you have to place your palms on your hips and breathe in and out deeply.
- Engage your hands for lengthening the back pelvis. Now, slowly draw your tailbone towards the pelvic bone (the bone at the front of the pelvic girdle).
- Continue to arch your back and try to lift your heart by pressing your shoulder blades together (or as close as possible) at the back.
- You now have to remove your palms from the hips and try to reach your heels.
- Your arms have to be turned outwards, and your elbow creases forward. You have to aim for a pose where your arms are straight, and the back is as arched as possible.
- Continue to hold this pose for about 30 seconds to a minute while breathing deeply.
For beginners, getting into the pose in one go, or even maintaining the posture initially, can be difficult. Therefore, you can use the following tips to get comfortable in doing the pose without causing any pain or injury:
- If you cannot reach your heels in one go, you should use your toes to elevate your heels and then touch them with your palms.
- If you still can’t reach your heels, you should use blocks placed at the side of your heels and touch them with your palms instead.
- If you have trouble stretching properly, you don’t have to squeeze your buttocks or push your belly out.
Contraindications of the Camel Pose
The steps of Ustrasana can be stressful for some. The following individuals should first talk to a yoga expert before doing the pose to reap the Ustrasana benefits:
- People with migraines and severe headaches.
- Those experiencing constipation or diarrhoea.
- Heart patients and those with hypertension.
Yoga Poses Related to Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Some other poses related to Ustrasana include the following:
Poses to get ready for Ustrasana
- Bridge Pose
Poses to do after Ustrasana
- Child’s Pose
- Staff Pose