Camel Pose, Ustrasana

By Yoga Lily 7 years ago
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Camel Pose, Ustrasana

Camel Pose, Ustrasana: Yoga Backbend –Hatha yoga classes in Milton Keynes

Ustrasana – Camel Pose is an important posture, as it prepares the body and the mind for more difficult back bending postures. It limbers the shoulders, opens the chest, and makes the lower back flexible.
– Yoga Lily, Hatha Yoga classes in Milton Keynes

1. Kneel with the feet and knees together, the thighs and the body vertical. Have the tops of the feet on the floor so the toes point back. Place the hands on the hips, thumbs turned toward the spine and lift the torso from the base of the spine and pelvis, opening the chest. Don’t collapse into your lower back–tuck your tailbone under and let the front of the thighs lengthen. Lift your collarbone higher. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you roll the shoulders back. Arch your back.

Camel Pose, Ustrasana Step 1

2. Draw the abdominal muscles in toward the vertebral column. This protects the lower back while allowing the upper back to open deeply. While maintaining this muscle tension, move the hands away from the hips and reach back with the arms. Slowly drop back reaching for the heels with your hands, eventually placing the palms on the soles of the feet, fingers pointing back. Roll the shoulders back and lift up the lower ribs, arching the back as much as possible. Press the hips forward, so that thighs are vertical. Relax the buttocks. Tilt the head back without tensing the neck. Stretch the chin away. Stay for 5 to 10 slow breaths.

Camel Pose, Ustrasana Step 2

3. Ground through the knees and inhale strongly to come up, lifting the pelvis with the strength of the buttock muscles. To finish sit down on the feet.


Gaze: Tip of nose

Counter Poses:


  • Tuck your toes under
  • Have the knees and feet hip width apart
  • Have someone help you by supporting you between the shoulder blades as you go back.
  • Take one hand back at a time
  • Keep the head up, face looking forward

Effect: Energising

Half Camel Pose is a lighter variation of the full camel posture

Half Camel Pose

  1. From a kneeling position, come up onto both knees, placing them hip-width apart. Place the hands on the hips, thumbs turned toward the spine.
  2. Inhale and press the knees down, stretching the crown of the head up to lengthen the spine. Exhale and push the hips forward, squeezing the buttocks and thighs while supporting the body’s weight with the arms while bending backwards.
  3. Carefully reach the right hand down to the left heel or ankle.
  4. Inhale and reach the left arm up and in front of the body, keeping the hand in line with the eyebrow.
  5. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.
  6. Slowly bring both hands back to the hips. Repeat on the other side.
  7. To release slowly bring both hands to the hips. Slowly inhale the torso up to a vertical position, letting the head and neck be the last to rise.

Camel Pose, Ustrasana counter poses

In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralise” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.

Childs Pose alternative head position

Child Pose


Head Beyond the Knee Pose

Head Beyond the Knee Pose

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 Yoga Lily

  (114 articles)

Lili has been studying and practising yoga in China & UK for 20 years, and teaching since 2007. She draws inspiration from her training within established, classical yoga systems that focus on alignment, hatha vinyasa in its gentler form, yin, yin/yang, and restorative yoga styles, pranayama and meditation; blending the roots of Chinese healing traditions into a more holistic practice. For her, practice covers not just the physical aspects of yoga but also aligning and unblocking the bodies meridian energy pathways to release Qi energy (prana) which flows through the bodies energy highway, bringing the mind, body and spirit back into balance. “I am continually humbled by my students and teachers, my aim is always to teach from the heart and from the idea that yoga is the art of living, listening and learning, to embody this deeply spiritual tradition” – Lili Chen.