Ustrasana is a position that is used in the practice of yoga, and it is often referred to as camel pose. One of the benefits of this pose is that it energizes the body, finding hidden energy when the body most needs to be refueled, similar to the way the camel hides water in its body for use when water is scarce in the desert environment. In a general sense, this pose can be considered a kneeling backbend.
To move the body into ustrasana, the practitioner may begin by kneeling on the ground. She can then push the tops of both her shins and her feet into the ground to give herself a stable base. While keeping the thighs perpendicular to the ground and the abdominal muscles contracted, the practitioner will slowly lean backward into a gentle backbend and touch the soles of her feet. The practitioner should attempt to lengthen her neck to prevent neck injury. This pose is generally held for about 60 seconds, but beginners may hold the pose for just a few seconds.
There are a few tips that can be used to make ustrasana a bit simpler, especially for people new to yoga. For example, when entering into the backbend portion of ustrasana, some practitioners find it is easier to use a focal point, a technique called drishti, to follow with their eyes. In addition, many practitioners will curl their toes under to lift their feet closer to their hands, particularly if flexibility is an issue. In some cases, foam blocks, chairs, or other props may be used to make the pose simpler for beginners.
Although ustrasana is a difficult pose, it offers many benefits. For example, it is purported to help people suffering from illnesses associated with the respiratory system, diabetes, and back pain. In addition, it is believed to help people with digestive issues and kidney problems. On a more basic level, this pose will stretch the chest, groin, thighs, and ankles. It will also open the hips and chest and help people maintain good posture.
Ustrasana is not recommended for people with blood pressure problems or those with back injuries. In addition, since the head is slightly inverted, it is not recommended for people who suffer from headaches. Since many people report an increase in energy after holding this pose, it also is usually not advised for people who suffer from sleeplessness or anxiousness.