Camel

ustrasana

Level: Intermediate

Instructions

1. From Child or Hero pose, come up onto both knees, placing them hip width apart. Place the palms of the hands on the sacrum with the fingers pointed down.

2. Inhale and press the knees down reaching the crown of the head up to lengthen the spine. Exhale and press the hips forward, squeezing the buttocks and thighs and supporting your weight with the arms as you bend backwards.

3. Very carefully reach one hand down to the heel at a time, if you cannot reach the heels keep the hands on the sacrum. If it feels safe drop the head all the way back.

4. Holding tightly on to the heels with each hand, actively press the hips forward, lifting the chest up towards the ceiling.

5. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.

6. To release: slowly bring one hand at a time back to the sacrum. With both hands on the sacrum, slowly inhale up, letting the head and neck be the last to come vertical.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Camel pose opens the chest, tonifies the kidneys and stimulates the respiratory, circulatory, nervous and endocrine systems.

Contraindications: Hernia,or recent abdominal surgery. Recent or chronic knee, shoulder, neck or back injury or inflammation.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: A) Place folded blanket under knees or under the ankles. B) Use blocks next to the ankles or a firm cushion on top of the ankles to support the hands if you cannot reach the heels. C) Come up on the tip toes if you cannot reach the heels. D) Keep the hands on the sacrum.

Variations: Slide hands towards knees and lower head to the floor.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Table, Hero, Child.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Gate, Half Circle, Seated Yoga Mudra, Child, Rabbit, Supine Diamond.

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