Ustrasana is a backbend that boosts shoulder flexibility, increases core strength and stretches the entire front of the body. The name is derived from the Sanskrit ustra, meaning “camel,” and asana, meaning “pose” or “posture.”
Camel pose can feel like a vulnerable place to be, opening the heart and throat, but with a little support and a few deep breaths comes amazing shifts in the body and mind.
Start with knees slightly apart, toes pointed or tucked under if you’re starting out. Bring your hands to the small of your back, and lift the rib cage up away from the hips. Lift your drishti and start to draw a line across the ceiling with your eyes. If it’s comfortable for your neck, look back to open the throat. From here, either tuck the toes or bring your hands to blocks on either side of your feet if the heels seem miles away. Whether you choose to keep your hands supporting your lower back, bring your hands to your thighs, to blocks or reach back for your heels, once you are in the pose start to press your hips forwards so that they are over your knees.