Ustrasana Benefits and Steps to do The Camel Pose

blog images

If you are trying to make something of yourself in today’s fast paced world, chances are you are working nearly endlessly in order to climb up that ladder of life and be on a higher position in the food chain. It is entirely possible that while doing so, you are neglecting your constantly deteriorating physical and mental health and are hardly giving yourself any time. This would spell doom for you if it goes on.

But luckily, with the help of Yoga, you can gradually replenish yourself over time, as the practice not only helps you strengthen physically, it also heals your psychological and emotional wounds in addition to keeping your mind alert so that you can take life head on.

Through this article, we will talk about one such Yoga pose that will help you achieve those physical and mental health objectives to an extent, known as the Ustrasana or the Camel pose. Read on to know more about it.

What is Ustrasana a.k.a Camel Pose

Ustrasana also known as the camel pose, is one of the more extreme Yoga positions that is a part of Hatha Yoga’s roster of poses. It can also be categorised as an extreme form of backbend position which, as you might have guessed it, primarily focuses on the back muscles and other kinds of appendages around it.

The name of the position, Ustrasana, is derived from Sanskrit and can be broken down into two parts, Ustra (Camel) and Asana (Pose). The reason why this position has got such a name is that while practising, the body of the student begins to look like the hump of a camel.

As far as the origins of this pose is concerned, not much is known about it, but one is certain: It was popularised by the likes of B.K.S Iyengar through their pieces of writing as well as proponents of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a form of yoga which has a pose similar to the Ustrasana in its list.

What Are The Benefits Of Ustrasana a.k.a Camel Pose

Some of the benefits of the Ustrasana are as follows:

Ustrasana Can Make You A Better Singer: Two of the prime focuses of the Ustrasana are expansion of the chest as well as the neck. When these two body parts are stretched, you are opening doors for a greater lung capacity as well as a stronger larynx (Throat) and vocal chords, which comes in pretty handy for singers.

Ustrasana Opens Up Your Heart: This pose also opens up the heart Chakra, which allows feelings of love, affection, compassion and empathy.

Ustrasana Broadens Your Frame: The usage of shoulders during the Ustrasana causes micro-tears in them, which pave the path for stronger shoulders and a wider frame overall with proper nutritious diet in place.

Ustrasana Fixes Your Curved Spine: Long desk-bound hours can eventually take a toll on your spine, your lower back and overall lifestyle, among other things. A curved spine can eventually translate into severe posture and back problems in the future, which is something that can be alleviated with Ustrasana.

Ustrasana Flattens Your Stomach: Since one of the primary muscles that are being stretched resides in the abdominal area, this pose is bound to have a positive effect on it when done over time.

Let us now take a look at how Ustrasana is done.

How To Do Ustrasana

Keep in mind that although the Ustrasana also known as the camel pose is a simple pose to execute, it requires a great amount of bodily flexibility, so make sure that you have done a series of yoga asanas prior to it. Preferably, you must do the Ustrasana at the end of your Yoga routine because by then, all of the muscles in your body have gained a certain degree of flexibility.

The steps to perform the Ustrasana with perfection are as follows:

Ustrasana Step 1: Sit down on your knees. You can keep a bolster under your knees in case they are sensitive. Make sure that your feet are extended and the upper part of your feet is touching the ground

Ustrasana Step 2: Place your hands a little above your heads and position your thumbs in such a way that you are able to put pressure on your rib cage from behind with your hand. The other four fingers, on the other hand, should rest right around the ribcage.

Ustrasana Step 3: Take a deep breath in and then go about the process of extending your back and even bending it a little bit.

Ustrasana Step 4: Exhale and then take your left hand back far enough to be able to hold onto the heels of the feet corresponding to it. Repeat this step with the other hand as well.

Ustrasana Step 5: Lift your chest and then curve your shoulders backwards.

Ustrasana Step 6: Extend your neck as much as you can without running the risk of seriously injuring it.

Ustrasana Step 7: Hold this position for 3-5 breaths or for as long as you are comfortable in one go. Finish one repetition by coming back to the original position by lifting your arms back, freeing your shoulders, neck and then back.

You must consider doing anywhere between 2-4 repetitions of Ustrasana also known as the camel pose during a Yoga session for best results.

When To Practise Ustrasana

One should practise Ustrasana also known as the camel pose either in the morning or evening. Anytime is fine as long as the stomach and the bladders are empty in order to avoid unnecessary breaks in the middle. However, since the Ustrasana is a physically demanding pose, the student should preferably get into this pose after he/she has already done a series of Yoga asanas already.

Ustrasana Contraindications

There are certain circumstances under which the Ustrasana must not be performed or at least they should be done after consulting a doctor or a certified Yoga teacher. They are as follows:

  • Avoid Ustrasana if any body part of yours has been fairly recently operated on, since you do not want to cause unnecessary stretches and tears there.
  • Refrain from Ustrasana if you have weak knees.
  • Do not do the Ustrasana if you have a weak sense of balance or awareness.
  • Avoid Ustrasana if you're pregnant, prenatal, post-natal or are menstruating since this position will put an undue amount of pressure on your gut.
  • Absolutely avoid the Ustrasana if you lack body-breadth connection.  

Anatomy of Ustrasana a.k.a Camel Pose

An anatomical exploration of the Ustrasana also known as the camel pose is as follows:

When you begin to get into the pose, you begin with arching your back to an extent. This act instantly activates the larynx, the trapezius muscles and the upper deltoid muscles, or as they are more commonly known as, the upper back. After that initial stretch in the upper half of the back, you will begin to feel the effect of the pose on the pine as well, followed by contracting sensations all across your backside.

As far as the front of the body is concerned, it is stretching sensations almost all over, starting from the pectorals and then the upper abdominals, followed by stretching sensations in the hips, ribcage as well as the lower abdomen area once the bend becomes more pronounced.

When you do the final bend, the stretching and contracting sensations become more palpable. In addition to the same, at this point, your abductor and adductor muscles also come into play.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ustrasana

Why Is It Called Ustrasana?

Ustrasana is a Sanskrit word with two parts, Ustra and Asana, which mean Camel and Pose respectively. Due to the translation of the name, the Ustrasana is also known as the Camel pose. The main reason why this Yoga posture got the name of the Ustrasana is because the yogi looks like the hump of a camel when he/she is in the pose.

What are the techniques of Ustrasana?

Some of the alternative techniques of Ustrasana are:

Kneeling Camel Pose: In this variation, the palms go a little further back than the feet and they rest on the ground. This position is performed by those who want a more challenging version of this asana.

Half-Revolved Camel Pose: In this variation, only one of the hands hold onto their corresponding feet, while the other hand is bent in an arch in a similar manner to the back. This position is done to engage one part of the body more thoroughly than the other.

Lunging Camel Pose: In this form of Ustrasana, both the hands are holding onto the heels of one foot while the other leg is bent outwards in a lunge. This variation is done to engage the back muscles, the shoulder blades and the rhomboids even more.

Half Camel Pose: Here, you touch the heel of your feet with one hand and raise the other arm in the air to engage the shoulders, hips and obliques in a different way.

Camel Pose With Blocks: Here, you will get to place your palms on top of two blocks that will be right around your heels. You must perform this version if you find bending your back to an extreme degree challenging.

How Can One Get Better At Ustrasana?

One can get better at Ustrasana with diligent practice, further education and willingness to experiment with newer variations over time. If you are unable to do the standard Ustrasana with proper form, start with simpler versions of the same and then work your way up. You can always visit BalanceGurus and get a refresher on the yoga asana by taking a look at our step by step guide for the same.

Contact for Best Deals!