Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ushtrasana - The Camel Pose

"Ushtra" means "camel" in Sanskrit.


1. Assume the kneeling position.
2. Keep the knees shoulder-width apart and the big toes about eight inches apart. Only your knees and toes should touch the floor.
3. Place the posterior between the heels and sit comfortably.
4. Grasp the heels with the corresponding hands.
5. Press the heels with your palms.
6. Inhale and exhale a few times.
7. Inhaling, raise your posterior off your heels and come up on your knees and toes.
8. Pulling the shoulders back, push the hips forward.
9. Exhaling, raise the chest and bend the trunk and head back as far as you can, curving the spine backwards.
10. Keep the arms straight.
11. Turn your face towards the sky.
12. Complete the exhalation and take a few deep breaths.
13. Invert the feet and place the toes and the upper part of the feet flat on the floor.
14. Slide your hands down and grasp each ankle with the corresponding hand.
15. Bend backwards further on the arms and make a curvature of the body by arching the spine and neck.
16. Maintain this posture, breathing deeply and rhythmically, until strain is felt.
17. Inhaling, release the hands and return slowly to the upright kneeling position.
18. Resume the sitting position between the heels and then the original sitting position.


* The alternate flexion and extension of the spine in this asana makes it more flexible and particularly so, the lumbar area.
* It improves the tone of the muscles and nerves attached to the entire spine besides the deep muscles of the thighs, trunk, neck and face.
* It expands the lungs to their maximum capacity and develops the ribcage.
* The elasticity of the diaphragm also improves.

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