Triple B Thursday: Ustrasana
Today on Tripe B Thursday we tackle the heart opening Camel Pose! Also known as a Ustrasana. If you're looking for a pose that strengthens your back while opening your chest, look no further!
1. Kneeling with your legs hip-width distance apart place you hands on your hips. Begin by putting your thumbs on your sacrum (the bony plate at the base of your spine) or your hands 'in your back pockets.' Keep your hips over your knees and internally rotate and engage your thighs.
2. Engage your lower belly with an inhale and draw your low ribs in. Begin to lift from the chest creating space in the lower vertebrae.
3. With another inhale lift your sternum and begin drawing your elbows together behind you. Allow your rib cage to expand but do not lose engagement with your lower belly and make sure you are not flaring your ribs out.
4. With chest raised, core engaged and your spine long, begin tucking in your chin as you lean backwards with a slight glute engagement. Hips should stay stacked over knees as you lift through your pelvis and your chest continues to open.
5. If you want to move deeper drop your hands to your heels. If this is difficult without dumping weight into your lower back you can tuck your toes to lift your heels. Continue lifting through your sternum and pushing your hips forward so that you are avoiding any dumping in the lower back. Gently lower your head and neck and gaze at the tip of your nose.
6. In order to exit the posture, bring your chin towards your chest and place your hands back on your sacrum if you have moved them. Find your lower belly engagement and use your hands as support for your lower back as you slowly come up.
- If it is difficult for you to reach your hands to your feet, tuck your toes and elevate your heels. You can also use yoga blocks positioned outside of each foot.
- To ensure you engage your thighs place a block between them and squeeze the block.
- During backbends it's important to create length between your vertebrae, being cautious not to crunch or collapse into the pose. Keeping your pelvis stable as you lift will help you from collapsing into the back body.
- It's more important for you to keep your hips over your heels than it is to touch your heels. If you struggle with keep everything in line practice the pose against a wall and work on not letting your thighs shift away from the wall.
- Opens the hips and stretches deep into the hip flexors.
- Expands the abdominal region which improves digestion and elimination.
- Improves posture.
- Improves spine flexibility.
- Opens the chest which improves respiration.