Saturday, March 10, 2012

Yoga Pose of the Day: Camel Pose

Camel Pose is a very stimulating and energizing pose. Also known as Ustrasana, Camel Pose compresses the spine, thus stimulating the nervous system and improving the flexibility of the spine and neck. It also stretches your chest and abs and massages your internal organs under the abdominals. The stretch extends into your quads and hip flexors.

This stretch is a great way to counteract all the forward bending we do all day, like hunching over a desk and/or computer.

1-Start by kneeling, your knees hips width apart. Your thighs need to be internally rotated and your shins and tops of your feet pressed against the floor. DO NOT flex your glutes!

2-Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, fingers pointing down.

3-Begin to lean back. Slightly tuck your chin to your chest as do this.

Now this may be as far as you go, especially if you are new to this pose. Remember not to push yourself into any stretch. Stay within your limits.

4-If your body is feeling good at this point, take the stretch a little deeper by placing your hands at your ankles. Your thumbs are to be on the outside of your ankles and your fingers should point to your toes.

5-Raise your chest to the ceiling, creating length through your lower back. Allow your head to simply fall back, resting. Do not tense your neck. Relax.

6-Hold the pose at your farthest point of flexibility for three to four breaths.

7-To come back up, bring your hands back up to your lower back and pelvis, and, while taking a deep inhalation and leading with your chest, push through down into your pelvis and roll your back upright. Your head needs to come up last.

8-This is a good time to sit your glutes back onto your feet and extend your arms forward and expand your chest across the floor in Child's Pose. This will counteract the spinal compression you just completed with the Camel Pose.


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