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  • Sit on your heels in vajrasana
  • Then sit up on your knees, keeping them hip distance apart
  • Bring your hands on your waist
  • Start bending back by lifting the chest and arching back
  • Take your hands to your heels and hold
  • Press the hips forward
  • Stay for 5 breaths
  • Support your back to come up again
Asana in Depth
Uṣṭrāsana, also known as the camel, is a deep back bend and chest opener. It is a great pose to help in posture correction and helps in drawing the shoulders back. It is known to be a deep heart opener and can release stuck emotions.

Start by sitting on your heels in vajrasana. Then lift up and come on to the knees, keeping them hip distance apart. Place the feet hip distance apart as well, with the tops of the feet flat on the floor, toes pointing back. Take your hands on your waist, with the thumbs on the inside and fingers on the outside. Press the hips forward, as you slowly start to arch your back. Extend the chest out, lengthen the spine up and bend backward. Release your hands and bring them on your heels to support yourself. At this point, check the position of the hips again, and keep directing the thighs forward. They should remain perpendicular to the floor. Stretch the head back and relax the throat. Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths and then on an inhalation come up. Place your hands on your waist as you slowly come up. It is recommended to proceed into the child’s pose, to relieve your back from any subtle tension.

As a variation to this posture you can come into the pose directly in front of a wall. This helps you to keep the thighs perpendicular to the floor and help maintain the correct alignment. Those who are new to yoga or have any back injuries can keep the hands on the waist the entire time to support the back. Those who are very flexible or advanced in their practice can start the pose with anjali mudra (keeping the palms together in front of the chest) and then start bending back while raising the arms up. Once the arms reach back over the head, drop them down and grab hold of your heels.

One of the benefits of this posture is that it opens up the chest and builds spinal flexibility. It stretches the front side of the body, including the chest, the abdomen, the hip flexors and thighs. It draws the shoulders back which helps in posture correction. It is known to be a heart opener and it can release any emotion which is stuck inside.

The contraindications for this pose are back injuries and high or low blood pressure. If you have back injuries then support your back when arching your spine. If you have high or low blood pressure you can stay in the halfway position to that the head doesn’t lean back deeply.
Major Benefits
  • Stretches the front of the body
  • Opens the chest
  • Corrects posture
  • Opens the heart
Contra Indications
  • Back injuries / High or low blood pressure
Anatomy Basics
  • Tones gluteus maximus
  • Stretches the hip flexor
  • Stretches pectoralis major
  • Stretches Psoas major
  • Stretches neck
  • Stretches rectus abdominis

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