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Ustrasana – Camel Pose.

October 30, 2012


  • Come to kneel on the mat
  • Place the knees hip distance apart
  • The feet can be slightly wider apart than the knees
  • The feet are turned over so one can press down onto the top of the feet with the toes pointing back
  • Place the hands on each buttock with the fingers pointing downwards
  • The arms are bent and the elbows tucked inwards
  • On the inhalation, gently and simultaneously push the hands down onto the buttocks, press the top of the feet down onto the mat and bring the pelvis forward
  • In the same movement, begin to arch the spine backwards expanding the chest by consciously pushing the thoracic spine in towards the sternum / breast bone
  • Slowly, one hand at a time, bring the fingers or hands to touch / hold the heels of the feet
  • The head can move back on the natural instruction of the body with the neck stretching backward
  • The thighs should be perpendicular to the floor
  • Hold the pose for 3 – 5 breaths as a beginner or 5-8-10 breaths as a more advanced practitioner
  • Release upright again by pressing onto the top of the feet, releasing the hold of the heels one hand at a time and bringing the upper body upright
  • The head comes up to neutral position last

 

Counterpose / Pratikryasana:

  • Balasana – Ideal for Beginners
  • Adho Mukha Virasana – Big toes together, knees wide apart and stretch forward with upper body between the knees, resting the forehead on the mat or on the back of the hands or rest the forehead on a block
  • Ardha Adho Mukha Svanasana, (Puppy Stretch) – Staying on the knees with the thighs perpendicular to the floor and the arms stretched forward as per Downward Facing Dog position bringing the forehead to the mat
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana, (an inverted forward bend), for intermediate or advanced practitioners

 

Cautions & Modifications:

  • Do not tilt the head all the way back if prone to headaches and migraines as compressing the neck backwards may aggravate or cause a headache
  • Instead keep the head back but the gaze looking directly up to the ceiling or head upright with the gaze looking forward
  • If flexibility does not allow for reaching the heels then tuck the toes of the feet under onto the mat and then reach for the heels, this modification allows for more height and easier flexibility to reach the heels
  • If this back bend proves more of challenge then place two blocks, one on the outside of either knee and place the hands on the highest point of the blocks when in the back bend
  • Alternatively keep the hands on the buttocks pressing down and tilt backwards as far as flexibility and comfort levels allow
  • Always practise a forward bend before and after a back bend to re-align the spine

 

Benefits:

  • Stretches the spine backwards
  • Rejuvenates and tones the spine
  • Helps to relieve back ache and recovery from spinal injuries
  • It is beneficial for lower back and sciatic pain when there is a slight displacement of the lumbar vertebrae, practising this asana helps to return the discs to the original position
  • Stretches the thigh muscles
  • Expands the chest which in turn facilitates and improves breathing
  • Corrects round drooping shoulders with regular practice
  • Tones and activates the kidneys
  • Massages the abdominal organs, mainly the digestive organs and increases circulation to the abdominal region
  • Creates heat in the body
  • Relieves fatigue by re-energizing the body

 

Chakra Association:

Manipura and Anahata Chakras.

 

Wishing you health and healing.

Much Love,

Juanita.
__________________________________________________

Juanita Caprari is a certified Yoga teacher and Public Relations Practitioner. She started her Yoga practice in 2002. She has completed two Yoga Teacher Training Courses, the last one through Ananda Kutir Ashram and has been teaching Yoga since 2007. jcaprari@mweb.co.za or visit the website www.yogamala.co.za.

Images by Angus Maresch.

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