Yoga - which means 'to unite' in Sanskrit - is an ancient Indian system of health and fitness. Widely considered as one of the best methods to achieving holistic health, fitness and battling stress. The regular practice of yoga ensures a healthy and active life well into a ripe old age, claim experts. Ustraasana, i.e. camel pose - can simply be described as kneeling backbend. Camel Pose is a progression from the simpler prone backbend like Dhanuranasa (Bow Pose).
Step by step procedure for attaining the posture: Kneel on the floor with your knees at hip width and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Keep your thighs pressed together. Move your hands to the back, just above the buttocks. Now lean back and slide your hands over your legs till they reach the ankles. To begin with you might not find this easy to do, and if you feel a strain in the back, don't push yourself beyond that point.
Press your palms firmly against your soles (or heels), with the bases of the palms on the heels and the fingers pointing toward the toes. Turn your arms outwardly so the elbow creases face forward, without squeezing the shoulder blades together. You can keep your neck in a relatively neutral position, neither flexed nor extended, or drop your head back. But be careful not to strain your neck and harden your throat.
Stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. To exit, bring your hands onto the front of your pelvis, at the hip points. Inhale and lift the head and torso up by pushing the hip points down, toward the floor. If your head is back, lead with your chest to come up, not by jutting the chin upwards. You may use a pad/mat/hard cushion/blanket under your knees and shins.
Beginners very often may not be able to touch their hands to their feet without straining their back or neck. First, try to turn your toes under and elevate your heels. If this doesn't work, the next thing to do is to rest each hand on a block. Position the blocks just outside each heel, and stand them at their highest height (usually about 9 inches). If you're still having difficulty, get a chair. Kneel for the pose with your back to the chair, with your calves and feet below the seat and the front edge of the seat touching your buttocks. Then lean back and bring your hands to the sides of the seat or high up on the front chair legs.
Benefits: It is a good workout for the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen, chest, and throat. Strengthens back muscles and improves posture. Helps tone the back, calf, neck and abdominal muscles. It stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck.
-High or low blood pressure.
-Serious low back or neck injury.
Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the asanas from this article and the site. To avoid any problems while doing the asanas, it is advised that you consult a doctor and a yoga instructor. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.