Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ustrasana - The Camel Pose


 Ushtrasana

By Tysan Lerner

There is something very invigorating about the camel pose. Upon completion, the whole front of the body will feel long and open, while the back muscles will feel warm, supple, and pleasantly worked. The camel pose helps lift one’s mood, open one’s heart, and deepen one’s breath.

Despite these wonderful benefits, go cautiously into this pose. It is an intense back bend, requires tremendous focus, and can strain one if he or she has a serious back or neck injury. It is also not recommended for someone with high blood pressure or insomnia.

Preparation Exercise 

To prepare the body for this backbend, start with some gentle chest stretches and back stretches. One good preparation exercise is to roll out the back on a foam roller or small rubber ball. This will help warm up the back muscles and mobilize the vertebrae.

 Ustrasana

When ready to begin, kneel on the knees with the toes tucked under. Keep the thighbones perpendicular to the floor and in line with the hip sockets. Rotate the thighbones internally and gently press the hips forward. Reach both arms up until they are shoulder height. Lift up through the pelvic floor and lower abdomen while reaching the left fingertips forward and the right arm back toward the heels until it touches the right heel. 

Return to center and repeat on the other side. 

If this feels manageable, point the feet and repeat the exercise again. This makes the exercise more challenging.

Tuck the toes under. Place the hands on the back of the pelvis with the fingertips pointing down. Lengthen upward through the spine and begin to bend back while keeping the head in line with the spine. Keep bending back until hands can rest on the heels.

Stay here for five to ten deep, full breaths before returning the starting position. If that felt manageable, the next step would be to point the feet, pressing the ankles and shins into the floor, and repeating the posture one more time. 

To come out of this pose, lead with the sternum instead of the head.
  
Therapeutic Applications
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Mild backache
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Menstrual discomfort
Benefits
  • Stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins,
  • Abdomen and chest, and throat
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas)
  • Strengthens back muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck
Contraindications and Cautions
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Migraine
  • Insomnia
  • Serious low back or neck injury
If you have health issues you should consult you health care provider and practice yoga with a certified yoga instructor.


         

Article source here & here
Image by Barry Stone