Learn how to rock camel!
Camel pose, Ustrasana, is a beautiful heart opener and core strengthener that opens the shoulders, chest, and upper-back. It's great at extending your thoracic spine (the middle of your back), instead of dumping into the low back. Camel pose is a challenging pose in the sense that you need the trust in yourself to lean back and feel fully supported by your strength.
Things that need to happen in your body for camel pose:
Spinal extension - the backbend should come from the upper back (think about lengthening the low back during this pose so you don't dump everything there)
Open hip flexors
Neutral hips - not tucked (posterior tilt) nor extended at the low back (anterior tilt)
Poses that help with prepping your body for camel
Front Body Opening:
Upward facing dog
Wild thing (aka Flip Dog)
Extended mountain pose
Full body stretch on back
Extended side angle
Core engagement poses:
Bird dog in table top
Knee to elbow crunch
Plank knee to elbow
Low boat pose
Charging warrior pose
Crunch with table top legs
Some things to note:
Breathing with awareness not only helps you tap into your inner strength, but also helps keep you rooted during these poses and transitions
Inhale to lengthen your spine, exhale to go deeper
Hold each pose 5-10 breaths and move at your own pace
Coming into Camel Pose
Kneel on your mat with knees and thighs parallel, hip widths distance apart. Press the tops of your feet into the mat to activate your legs and core. Press your hips slightly forward as you lift your chest up and back. Draw shoulder blades down your back to open your chest and bring your hands to your hips, elbows hugging in towards each other. Begin to reach back to your feet or ankles (or place a block there). Press your hands into your feet to lift your chest even more, opening your heart up towards the sky. Hold here for a couple of breaths, and then to come out of the pose, slowly tilt head up and bring hands back to your hips.
To flow along with our videos and full length classes, Liz Biscevic has a new 5-part vinyasa series breaking down PEAK postures, including camel pose that just released this week on our platform - try them out! Start your free week here and practice along with us!