Ustrasana is a back bending asana. In Sanskrit, Ustra means camel and hence this asana is known as camel pose. Since many of us are not accustomed to any activity related to bending backwards, most backward bending asanas will be difficult to perform, but they are highly critical in yoga asanas, since they are the most beneficial to humans.
Procedure of Ustrasana
- You should first sit in a kneeling position, with legs apart by about 1½ feet the toes of both feet firmly on the ground along with the knee. Your head and back should be straight.
- Stretch your hands above your head, with hands close to the ears.
- Bend back slowly with hands moving backward along with head and chest. Keep a regular breathing until you are able to perfect this asana. Once you are perfect in bending back fully within a few seconds of starting the position, you can inhale while bending back. Otherwise, continue regular breathing.
- Your stretched hands should bend back fully stretched, while the head and torso also follow the hand. In the beginning, you will not be able to bend fully. When you feel uncomfortable, you should return back to the original kneeling position slowly. Try your maximum but do not strain.
- With practice, you will be able to bend fully backwards with your hands holding the ankles, head looking up at the sky and chest fully forward. You can hold this position for 4-5 breathes and come back to original kneeling position slowly, exhaling.
Benefits of Ustrasana
Ustrasana improves the core strength of the spinal cord, the hip and the stamina, while improving shoulder flexibility. Flexibility and strength of the organs, especially the spine is very important for a healthy body.
Precautions and Contraindications
When you do this asana, you should be careful about avoiding the collapse of the neck area, since this collapse can compress the blood vessels that bring the blood and oxygen to your brain. If this happens, you can feel dizzy or become unstable, making the entire position unsafe. Most of the beginners of Ustrasana feel a few serious side effects in the beginning, with nausea, lightheadedness and even a feeling of distinct illness. Still, these conditions will slowly decrease with practice and will finally disappear, when you reach perfection.