Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Camel pose, or Ustrasana, is an invigorating backbending posture that strengthens your spine and opens your heart. It is typically done after other backbending postures to ensure the spine is thoroughly warmed up.

It is a pose that is accessible to anyone, as there are ways to modify and advance it accordingly.

If you have lower back, neck injuries, or high blood pressure, it is best to take it slow and exercise caution with this position.

The posture is done on the knees, which makes it a much more activating position than other backbends which may be performed on the belly or on the back. If you have sensitive knees, you can pad the knees with a blanket.

It takes a great deal of strength to hold the posture, but the benefits are numerous- increased lung capacity and a greater sense of well-being through the sensation of opening the heart.

How to Do Camel Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Come to a kneeling position with the shoulders stacked over the hips. If you are newer to this pose, you can modify by tucking the toes under. This will help stabilize the legs. Additionally, make sure the knees are directly underneath the hips with the inner thighs hugging into the center line (without touching).

Step 2

Place the hands on the hips and draw the abdomen in to protect the lower back. Begin to press the hips forward as you lift the chest up and back. It is important to keep the hips pressing toward the knees the entire time. You can keep the neck in neutral by gazing up to the sky or keep the gaze forward. You can also drop the head back with support if that is comfortable.

Step 3

From here, you can try to drop the hands back to the heels to complete the pose. If your body is more open, you can perform this with the feet flat on the ground, rather than tucked.

Camel Pose Benefits

  • Relieves fatigue
  • Stretches quadriceps, hip flexors, abdomen, and chest
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Reverses thoracic kyphosis
  • Stimulates digestion