Half Camel

ardha ustrasana

Level: Beginner

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 the right hand down to the right heel. If you cannot reach the heel, keep the hand on the sacrum.

4. Inhale and reach the left hand up and back towards the back wall. If it feels safe drop the head all the way back.

5. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.

6. To release: With both hands on the sacrum, slowly inhale up, letting the head and neck be the last to come vertical.

7. Repeat on other side.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Half camel opens and stretches the shoulder and upper arm, and opens the chest. Half camel tonifies the kidneys and stimulates the respiratory, digestive 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 a folded blanket under the knees and ankles to protect them from pressure and stress. B) Tuck the toes under or use a yoga block if the hands cannot reach the heels.

Variations: Have the upper arm reaching up towards the ceiling rather than towards the back wall.

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.

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