22. Camel Pose
If this backward bending pose isn’t your favorite, pretend it is and make the most a huge heart opener. If you not convinced, just enjoy the glee you experience when you’re done with the pose.
Start up on your knees, with six inches between both the knees and feet. Support the spine by placing the hands on the back of the hips, with the fingers pointing down.
Keep the elbows drawing in towards one another and let the shoulders roll back. This way we start with an open chest, reversing the slouching tendency that many of us habitually have.
Inhale and lift the chest, exhale drop the head back. Inhale again and lift the chest, exhale and arch the torso back more, using the hands to support the spine.
It’s important to keep the chest lifted throughout the pose to minimize the compression in the lower back.
Are your hips forward and lined up above the knees? Then bring the right hand down to grab the right heel, followed by the left hand and left heel, with the thumbs on the outside and fingers inside.
If your hips collapse back and you sink into the spine as you grab the heels, be patient, keep the hands on the hips and keep lifting the chest.
Keep arching the spine back and work the hips forward whilst lengthening the tailbone down towards the floor. Be sure that the body weight hasn’t sunk back into the heels and hands by constantly lifting the chest.
The breath is our best friend, especially here in Ustrasana, where emphasizing the exhalation can help. If you’re feeling the intensity of the pose and freaking out, breath. To go deeper in the pose, breath.
Hold for 20 seconds with deep breaths and allow the heart to open and lift.
Reverse out of the pose by bringing the right hand to right hip, then the left hand to left hip. Press the knees down and use abdominal strength to lift and straighten the spine up.
- Strengthens and improves the flexibility of the neck
- Strengthens and improves the flexibility of the spine, especially the thoracic spine
- Stretches the throat, thyroid gland and parathyroids
- Opens the rib cage area, creating more space for the lungs
- Stretches the abdominal organs, helps cure constipation
- Opens the shoulders
- Slims the abdomen and the waistline.