What is Ustrasana?
Before we talk about how to master Ustrasana, it is important to know the basic information about Ustrasana.
Also known as the camel posture, Ustrasana is an important back-bending kneel pose of yoga. Ustrasana meaning comes from the terms ‘Ustra’ meaning ‘camel’ and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture’.
The camel posture finds mention in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and Iyengar yoga. It is also one of the 26 asanas in the sequence of Bikram Yoga.
As an advanced deep bending pose, Ustrasana yoga works on the following muscles:
- Upper, middle, and lower back muscles
Who can do Ustrasana?
Now that you know Ustrasana meaning, it is important to know who can perform this yoga pose. People who can easily do Ustrasana yoga pose include:
- Children as young as 7 years can do Ustrasana stretches.
- People who are suffering from posture-related problems.
- Pregnant women can perform Ustrasana, but only after talking to their doctor and using supports such as yoga blocks.
- Those who have diabetes, hypertension, and digestive problems.
- Those who want to improve their flexibility, balance, and coordination can do Ustrasana stretches.
Who should avoid Ustrasana?
For yoga practitioners, it is important to have Ustrasana information about people who should avoid practising this pose. These include:
- People suffering from low or high blood pressure should not do Ustrasana.
- Those who have recently undergone surgery and are yet to heal.
- People who have COPD or trouble breathing.
- Those who have insomnia should avoid Ustrasana.
- People who have suffered a recent injury and haven’t healed yet.
- Ustrasana should not be done by people who suffer from chronic headaches or migraine.
How is Ustrasana done?
Now that you have Ustrasana information about its origin and the categories of people that it benefits, it is time to perfect the pose.
Follow these steps to do the Ustrasana asana correctly:
- To start the camel yoga pose, kneel on the yoga mat.
- Place your hands on your hips and ensure that your knees are aligned with your shoulders.
- The soles of your feet must be facing the ceiling.
- Inhale deeply and pull your tail bone upwards towards the ceiling.
- Simultaneously, arch your back and place your palms over your feet. Ensure that your arms are not bent and are kept straight.
- Keeping your neck in a neutral position, hold this pose for 10-15 seconds or for as long as you can.
- Exhale deeply and lift your hands and bring them to your hips.
- Straighten your back and return to the starting position.
Are there any variations of Ustrasana?
People who are new to yoga or don’t have the requisite flexibility or core strength can modify the Ustrasana yoga pose to match their age and health status.
Here is more information on Ustrasana variations:
Ustrasana asana with foot bolster:
As the name suggests in this pose of yoga Ustrasana is done by keeping your feet on a bolster. To do this pose, you need t keep your thighs perpendicular to the floor and lift your chest and side ribs. This should be followed by pressing your shoulder blades into your back ribs and touching the bottom of your feet.
Ustrasana asana against a wall:
This variation of the camel yoga pose requires you to stack your thighs against a wall and keep your chin tucked into your chest. Then, exhale and engage your lower abdomen, lengthen your tailbone, and lift your chin. Take your arms back and touch your feet.
What are the benefits of Ustrasana?
Performing the Ustrasana preparatory poses has incredible long-lasting benefits for your mind and body. Here are some of the best Ustrasana yoga benefits:
- It is one of the most effective back exercises, which is especially beneficial for people who sit for long hours. By stretching your back, it helps relieve lower back pain, stiffness, and tension.
- This is a great strength exercise for your shoulders and arms. When performed regularly, Ustrasana gives you toned arms, improves your workout performance, and makes everyday tasks easier.
- One of the best camel yoga pose benefits is that it stretches your hip flexors and promotes better flexibility in the hip area. This is essential for your agility and mobility.
- One of the most important Ustrasana yoga benefits is that it helps open up chest muscles. This makes your cardiovascular system healthier and prevents the risk of heart diseases and reduces stress and anxiety.
- An important camel yoga pose benefit is that it regulates your breathing by opening up your chest muscles. This prevents and helps you manage the symptoms of respiratory disorders like COPD and asthma.
- Since Ustrasana camel pose stretches your body backwards, your throat gets engaged too. This helps regulate your thyroid, pituitary, and pineal glands and prevents their disorders.
- An excellent pose of yoga for flexibility and strength, it enhances your overall functionality.
- An important benefit of the Ustrasana yoga pose is that it is modifiable depending on your fitness objectives and health status.
- This is an effective pose of yoga for women. Since it stretches the pelvic muscles, it helps reduce and prevent menstrual discomfort.
- This is a great pose to improve your digestion and prevent problems such as constipation, IBS, and bloat.
What are some tips for performing Ustrasana safely?
Just like any pose of yoga Ustrasana also needs to be practised using the correct form. This is important to prevent injuries and gain Ustrasana benefits.
Here are some tips on how to do Ustrasana yoga pose safely:
- Never start practising Ustrasana on your own. Learn the correct form and technique from an experienced yoga practitioner or join online yoga classes.
- Listen to your body. If during Ustrasana preparatory pose, you feel dizziness or pain, stop exercising immediately.
- Never overstretch your body.
- Perform Ustrasana camel pose gently. Hurried movements may lead to muscle strain.
The key to gaining Ustrasana benefits is to stay consistent with your practice and challenge yourself. Cycle between the many variations and alternatives of Ustrasana to gain the most from this incredibly-beneficial asana.
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