Yoga Pose of the Month - May 2013 - Camel Pose
Ustrasana- Camel Pose
This month we’ll be focusing on an energizing and invigorating backbend. Backbends open and stretch the entire front of the body, improve posture by realigning the spine, and strengthen the back muscles.
Using a wall when practicing Camel Pose is an excellent way to practice proper alignment. Come to your knees, and place a block on the narrow setting between the thighs to ensure that the knees are hip-width apart. Bring the front thighs and frontal hip points to touch the wall. As you move into the backbend, you’ll keep this connection to the wall to ensure that the hips stay stacked over the knees.
Once you’re set up at the wall, bring the hands to the low back and begin to lift the heart toward the ceiling. This action of lifting the heart will create length in the spine, which is just as vital in backbends as the bending itself. While lifting the heart, engage the core by drawing the lower ribs toward the frontal hip points, continue to press the hips forward, and begin to move into the backbend, dropping the head back as the last step only if it feels comfortable.
You can keep the hands at the low back or reach the hands down to grab the ankles. I recommend beginning with the toes tucked under to reach the ankles, and if it’s accessible from there, move to the tops of the feet and keep the connection between the hands and the ankles.
To come out of the pose, bring the hands to the low back and very slowly roll back up with the head being the last to lift. Come to rest on the heels, hands restin