Camel Pose (Ustrasana) - Yoga Journal

Camel Pose

Bump up your energy by bending back into Camel Pose.

How to Say Ustrasana Sanskrit

ustra = camel

Camel Pose Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin kneeling with the thighs perpendicular to the floor, and the knees and feet hips distance apart
  2. Extend the big toes straight back, pressing down with all 10 toenails and firming the outer ankles into the midline
  3. Spin the inner thighs back and gently release the flesh of the buttocks towards the backs of the knees
  4. The pelvis is neutral, neither spilling forward nor spilling back, and stacks directly over the knees
  5. Root down from the tops of the feet to the knees; rebound up with the chest
  6. Bring the palms together in front of the sternum and drop the chin towards the sternum
  7. Take an inhale to emphasize the lift of the chest, then create Savasana arms (palms facing forward) and with the next exhale
  8. Keeping the chin dropping and the pelvis over the knees, take the hands to the heels 
  9. Immediately press the shoulder blades forward and up and coil the thoracic spine to lift the chest any amount more
  10. Having created more space/extension in the upper back, head can now drop back and hang free
  11. Continue pressing down with the feet and lower legs in order to lift up with the thoracic spine and chest
  12. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then, leading with the sternum, use an inhale to come up (head is the last part of the body to exit


Camel Pose Cues

Contraindications and Cautions of Camel Pose

  • Avoid or modify if you feel any pinching or pain in your low back
  • Avoid or modify if you have any shoulder pain, shoulder arthritis, or shoulder injuries
  • Avoid or modify if you have any back pain or injuries, including surgeries.
  • For most, it is best not to drop your head back in this pose, particularly if you have a neck injury or are at risk for stroke. Instead, lift your chin slightly and use your neck muscles to stabilize your head in place.
  • Avoid or modify if you have shoulder injuries or pain in the pose

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Benefits of Camel Pose

  • Can boost energy and fight fatigue
  • Can help build confidence and empowerment
  • Improves posture and counteracts the effects of sitting and computer work
  • May help relieve back pain
  • Can counteract slouching and kyphosis of the spine
  • Stretches your abdomen, chest, shoulders, front of your hips (hip flexors), and front of your thighs (quadriceps)
  • Strengthens your back muscles, back of your thighs, and buttocks (gluteals)

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3 Ways to Modify Camel Pose

1. Toes Tucked Camel

Try with a blanket under your knees for extra cushioning

Tuck your toes under to add some height before you reach back

Hold your head steady, lifting your chin slightly

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2. Camel with hands on hips (either of these pics are fine

Bring your hands to your how back with your fingers facing downward and elbows pointing back

Gently arch your back into a back bend

Lift your chin slightly and press your best forward and up

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3. Camel with blocks

Try with blocks at any height (or stacked) to extend your reach if reaching the floor is difficult or causes any pain

Preparatory Poses for Camel Pose

  • Bhujangasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Salabhasana
  • Setu Bandha
  • Supta Virasana
  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
  • Virasana

Follow-up Poses

  • Dandasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Sarvangasana
  • Setu Bandha
  • Sirsasana
  • Urdhva Dhanurasana
  • Virasana

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More Pose Detail

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