Pose of the month: Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Sanskrit Name and meaning (oosh-TRAHS-anna) ustra= camel asana= pose How to: Step 1: Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width apart and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Rotate your
thighs inward slightly, with the option to squeeze a block between your thighs. Press your shins and the tops of your feet firmly into floor. Step 2: Rest the palms of your hands on the back of your hips with the fingers pointing down. Lengthen through your tailbone. Firm the thighs, and as you inhale lift your heart by drawing the shoulder blades towards each other. Step 3: Continue to lift your heart, engage the legs, and draw elbows back as you arch your back. Bring your gaze along the ceiling. Beginners should keep hands on the low back. If you are able to reach the heels, bring hands to the heels and press palms into the heels. Keep gaze at the bridge of your nose. Step 4: Check that the ribs are not protruding, and lift the pelvis. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Bring hands back to the low back while lifting back to center, leading with the heart. Sit back on the heels in seiza pose and rest hands on your thighs for a few breaths. Benefits of the pose:
Strengthens back muscles, and can relieve low back ache
Stretches the entire front of the body (thighs, abdomen, chest and throat)
Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas)
Stimulates the organs of the abdomen
May relieve fatigue and anxiety
Avoid if you have high blood pressure or serious low back or neck injury.
If your knees are sensitive, kneel on extra padding.
Beginners often aren't able to bring hands to feet without straining the back or neck. In this case, turn your toes under to elevate your heels.