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Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Ushtra' is a sanskrit word, which means camel. This asana is therefore called camel posture.


Procedure:

i    Sit in vajrasana.
ii    Stand on the knees with the arms at the sides.
iii    The knees and feet should be together but may be separated if this is more comfortable.
iv    Lean backward, slowly reaching for the right heel with the right hand and then the left heel with the left hand.
v    Do not strain.
vi    Push the abdomen forward, trying to keep the thighs vertical, and bend the head and spine backward as far as possible.
vii    Try to relax the whole body, especially the back muscles, into the stretch.
viii    The weight of the body should be evenly supported by the legs and arms.
ix    The arms should anchor the shoulders to maintain the arch of the back.
x    Remain in the final position for as long as is comfortable.
xi  Return to the final position by slowly releasing the hands from the heels one at a time.

ustrasan ustrasan

 

Duration:
Practice up to 3 times as a dynamic asana.  Hold the final position up to 3 minutes as a static pose.

Benefits:
This asana is beneficial for the digestive and reproductive systems. It stretches the stomach and intestines, all alleviating constipation. The backward bend loosens up the vertebrae and stimulates the spinal nerves, relieving backache, lumbago, rounded back and drooping shoulders. The front of the neck is fully stretched, toning the organs on this region and regulating the thyroid gland.It gives energy to the chest and the lungs, and checks tridosha

Awareness:
Physical-    on the abdomen, throat, spine or natural breathing.
Spiritual-    on swadhisthana or vishuddhi chakra.

Sequence:
It is important that this asana is followed by any forward bending asana, such as paschimottanasana, to release any tension in the back. The most convenient counter pose is shashankasana since it may be performed immediately from vajrasana without unnecessary body movement.

Contra-indications: People with severe back ailments such as lumbago should not attempt this asana without expert guidance. Those suffering from enlarged Thyroid should also take care.

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