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Camel Yoga Pose, Ustrasana

Updated on June 19, 2013
Camel Pose or Ustrasana
Camel Pose or Ustrasana | Source

The Camel Pose or Ustrasana is an intermediate level yoga pose. The camel pose is a backbend pose done from a kneeling position. Poses done from a kneeling position strengthen the thighs and stretch the spine. The camel pose is often used as a preparation for deeper backbends.

Ustrasana is a combination of two sanskrit words 'ustra' meaning camel and 'asana' meaning pose. Being a pose of an intermediate level it is important to first achieve some flexibility by doing yoga poses for the spine, legs and hips. The first time I was able to do it I felt a sense of achievement. It is one of my favourite poses.

Benefits of the Camel Pose

There are many benefits to performing the camel pose or ustrasana:

  • it gives an intense stretch to the front of the body and the spine.
  • it relieves backache, helps correct rounded shoulders
  • strengthens the lower back muscles
  • stimulates the kidneys and thyroid gland.
  • It stretches the quadriceps and hip flexors.
  • It energizes the body
  • It improves posture
  • it improves digestion
  • it helps reduce anxiety and fatigue.

Caution: Do not practice this pose if you have high blood pressure, a herniated disk, or other lower back problems.

Preparation for Camel Pose

Some of the easy yoga poses should be performed before doing the camel pose in preparation such as:

  • Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
  • Bow Pose or Dhanurasana
  • Salabhasana or Locust Pose
  • Setu Bandha or Bridge Pose

How to do the Camel Yoga Pose

The camel pose or ustrasana can be done with two easier variations before being able to do the full pose.

Camel Pose for Beginners:

  • Kneel with legs hip-width apart. Place your hands on either side of your lower back, fingers pointing down.
  • Engage the abdominal muscles and move your hips forward as though they were pressing against an imaginary wall. Keep your neck in line with the spine and lift your chest upward.
  • Stay at this point until you feel comfortable with the pose.

Camel Pose for Intermediate Level:

  • Kneel with legs hip-width apart. Place your hands on either side of your lower back, fingers pointing down.
  • Curl your toes under to raise your heels. Engage your abdominal muscles.
    Inhale and lift the chest.
  • Exhale and slowly bend the torso backward, sliding your hands down your buttocks and the backs of your legs and onto your raised heels.
  • Continue to monitor your neck. To start with, keep your chin tucked slightly toward your chest.
  • Inhale.
  • Exhale as you continue to push the fronts of your thighs, hips, and abdomen forward.
  • Breathe and hold the pose for 5-30 seconds.
  • Come out by releasing one hand at a time.
  • Rest in Child pose or Corpse Pose or Savasana

Camel Pose – Advanced

  • Same as intermediate level but at step two keep the feet resting on the floor instead of being curled and grasp your heels.
  • Breathe and hold the pose for 5-30 seconds.
  • Rest in Child pose or Corpse Pose or Savasana

Camel Yoga Pose or Ustrasana can be included in the yoga routine done especially for the following:

Ustrasana or Camel Pose is also known as the 'heart opening' pose and can sometimes stir the emotions in the one who practices it. For example, in the book Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer, the author mentions how she felt fear whenever she performed the camel pose. It gave her the opportunity to deal with her innermost fears which she never knew existed.

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    • Sushma Webber profile image
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      Sushma Webber 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks dprasan for your feedback. Much appreciated.

    • profile image

      dprasan 4 years ago

      very good. Good detailed description about the camel pose and its importance.