Camel Pose

This is a graceful backbend that stretches and opens your entire body, particularly the frontal region.

The neck, chest and quadriceps derive most of the benefit of this posture.

Not only does it develop these regions, but it also works on and strengthens your back, significantly improving posture.

If executed perfectly it can act as a stimulant for the abdominal organs, relieve menstrual pain, fatigue and indigestion, and ease backaches and pains.

1) Sit in Vajrasana i.e. squat on the floor, toes pointing backwards

2) Now, stand on your knees with arms at the sides

3) Spread knees about half a foot apart

4) Bend your body backwards and hold your ankles with both hands so that you end up looking at the ceiling

5) Push the abdomen forward as much as possible keeping the thighs vertical

6) Return to the starting position, slowly releasing the hands from the ankles, one at a time

7) Return to Vajrasana and relax breathing normally

8) As with all yoga, make sure to monitor and steady your breathing

9) Avoid this pose if you have any serious injury to your lower back or neck

Camel Pose is a progression from the simpler prone backbend, Dhanurasana (Bow Pose).

Step-By-Step Instructions For Camel Pose

Kneel on the floor with your knees at hip width and thighs perpendicular to the floor.

Keep your thighs pressed together.

Move your hands to the back, just above the buttocks.

Now lean back and slide your hands over your legs till they reach the ankles.

To begin with you might not find this easy to do, and if you feel a strain in the back, don’t push yourself beyond that point.

Press your palms firmly against your soles or heels, with the bases of the palms on the heels and the fingers pointing toward the toes.

Turn your arms outwardly so the elbow creases face forward, without squeezing the shoulder blades together.

You can keep your neck in a relatively neutral position, neither flexed nor extended, or drop your head back. But be careful not to strain your neck and harden your throat.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute.

To exit, bring your hands onto the front of your pelvis, at the hip points.

Inhale and lift the head and torso up by pushing the hip points down, toward the floor.

If your head is back, lead with your chest to come up, not by jutting the chin upwards.

A chair can help beginners move into Camel Pose.

Modifications

You may use a pad/mat/hard cushion/blanket under your knees and shins.

Beginners very often may not be able to touch their hands to their feet without straining their back or neck.  Try these solutions:  

  • First, try to turn your toes under and elevate your heels.
  • If that doesn’t work, the next thing to do is to rest each hand on a block. Position the blocks just outside each heel, and stand them at their highest height, which is usually about 9 inches.
  • If you’re still having difficulty, use a chair. Kneel for the pose with your back to the chair, with your calves and feet below the seat and the front edge of the seat about in line with your buttocks. Then lean back and bring your hands to the sides of the seat or high up on the front chair legs.

Benefits Of Camel Pose

It is a good workout for the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen, chest, and throat.

Strengthens back muscles and improves posture. Helps tone the back, calf, neck and abdominal muscles. It stimulates the organs of the abdominal and neck areas.

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