Yoga Poses

Camel Pose /Ustrasana

Steps

With the toes tucked under, in a high kneeling position, place the hands on the lower back. The heel of the hand should rest at the top of the buttocks. Lift the chest up and draw the tips of the shoulder blades down towards each other. To ensure that the abdominals are engaged, the upper thighbones move back and the tailbone pulls slightly down. Lift the lower belly. To deepen into the posture, keep the thighs perpendicular to the floor, as you reach back to place the hands on the heels. Rotate the inner elbows forward to open the chest. The head can be kept neutral, or if the neck is strong, release the head back. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To come out of the posture, if the head is back, leave it back. Place the hands into the lower back, lengthening the tailbone down again. Inhale to lift the chest up; the head comes up last. Untuck the toes and fold over the knees into Balasana- Child’s pose

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Imagine the torso as a cylinder. The ribcage floats on top of the pelvis. As the spine moves into extension, the posterior ribcage pulls back and the front of the ribcage moves down, drawing a line from the top of the hips to the bottom of the ribcage on the front and backside of the body. The whole cylinder moves together.

Technical Comments

Ensure that the body is in proper alignment before moving into the backbend. The feet are hip distance apart and the shins are parallel. With the toes tucked under, encourage even the baby toe to wrap under. Press into the big toe mound and across the ball of the foot to avoid rolling the ankle joint.

Benefit Comments

  • Opens the front of the thighs, chest, shoulders and throat.
  • Strengthens the back muscles.
  • Invigorates the nervous system.
  • Stretches the abdominals and deep hip flexors.

Watch Out For:

  • Straining the throat or neck.
  • Compressing the Lumbar spine.
  • Protruding ribcage.
  • Overly tight buttocks muscles.
  • Shoulders rolling forward.
  • Locked elbow joints

Contraindications

  • High or low blood pressure.
  • Lower back or neck injury.

Modifications

For some students it may be difficult to release the hands to the feet. One option is to stay with the hands in the lower back and work on lifting through the upper chest. Conversely, place a block lengthwise on either side of each heel and rest the hands onto the blocks.

Variations

  • Flatten the tops of the feet on to the floor, increasing the arch in the spine.
  • Bring the legs closer together.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Balasana
  • Dandasana
  • Virasana
  • Baddha Konasana

Written By: Meghan Aris

Certified in several disciplines of yoga, a pilates teacher and teacher trainer, Meghan is continually widening her path of body/mind studies. At a young age she began her journey into body movement through dance. After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she shifted her practice to more rehabilitative yoga. In this discipline she found not only the resources to heal her body, but also a guide to living a life full of peace and joy. She can be found teaching on any given day at The Space Vancouver.

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