Camel Pose also known as “Ustrasana” (U stra asana) is a great pose for cyclist. When cycling, we are usually leaning or hunched forward. At the end of the ride, our backs are definitely ‘talking’’ to us. This pose opens the front of the body consisting of the chest, shoulders, quads and groin region. It also increased the circulation throughout the body. If you are want greater mobility in the spine and release tension in the upper back, then try this pose. Other positive effects of this pose is stimulates the kidneys, adrenal, and opens the heart center.
How to do the Camel Pose
Kneel on the mat with your hands on your hips. Glance down to determine if your knees are hip width apart. Glance behind you to see if your legs and feet are hip width or vertical and parallel with one another. Also, make sure your feet are pointed straight back.
Elongate your core and become grounded. Imagine you are stretching the top of your head upward and knees downward. Gently allow your chest to lift upward and away from the waist, move the elbows toward one another until the upper arms are parallel. Press your sacrum and tailbone firmly forward as you squeeze your legs inward toward one another. This strengthens and increases the lower half of your body as well as establishes the foundation of the pose. When you engage in this posture, the upper half will lift upward and over into a slight backbend. The more powerful your legs are, the more support you will have in the pose. By not moving and engaging the thighs, your lumbar spine will be protected. As you inhale, lift and expand your chest and as you exhale pull the shoulders back and down. Tilt your head slightly upward.
Hands can stay at the hips or if your body permits, you can slide your hands down the back of your legs and reach for your feet or ankles. If you cannot reach your feet, stay where you are for a few breaths and come out of the pose slowly. To counteract this pose, rest in Child’s pose.
If you have any spine injuries, please consult your physician first. Again, if you feel any painful sensations, please come out of the pose slowly. Don’t forget to breathe as you move from one position to another. Always, be mindful and listen to your body when you begin any pose.