Camel Pose also called Ustrasana is an amazing back bend and heart opening pose in Yoga. It is generally done towards the end of a session, so that the body warms up. This pose improves spinal flexibility, strengthens the abdominal core, and the quadriceps. As this pose is a wonderful heart opener, it is a great pose to add, when wanting to activate the heart chakra (anahata). To come into the pose:
- Begin with knees on the floor, directly under the hips and if you have sensitive knees take padding by folding your mat in or a blanket. Feet and shins are flat on the floor with pointed toes, but if you are a beginner curl the toes so the balls of the feet are on the mat to start. Take deep luxurious breaths.
- Slowly begin to use the hands on the sacral area of the back, fingertips pointing up, to guide the hips forward. Start to open the heart to the sky.
- Reach your hands back one at a time to grab your heels
- Shine the heart to the sky, send your hips forward and over the knees, and let your head go back to open the throat (throat chakra). Stay for 30 seconds.
- To get out of the pose, release the heels, tuck the chin, lead with the chest forward, send the tailbone down to the heels and rest in childs pose.
- ADVANCED practitioners can try to grab opposite hand to opposite heel, and SUPER ADVANCED can let the head continue going back to touch the floor, and rest the forearms on the floor too.