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Yoga Pose – Ushtrasana

In my previous article on Tadasana, I’ve explained few common instructions applicable to all the asanas.

Here is another animal getting recognition in the science of yogasanas. “Ushtra” in Sanskrit language means camel. While performing this asana, one assumes the pose of a camel. Though odd in form, like that of the camel (camel is an animal not  known for its beauty, but can perform the laborious journeys through the difficult, hot deserts and carry loads) this asana tenders multifarious benefits to enable the cure of acute diseases. It tones up every part of the body directly or supportively, each muscle of the body comes to participate in one or the other steps of the asana.

Method/Technique of Ustrasana / Camel Pose

Though Ustrasana affects the entire body ( watch the movements of the camel; when it walks, it appears as if it is the total struggle, and  all  its body parts seem to participate in the action) the parts that actively participate are thighs, groins, belly, ankles, chest, shoulders, spine and neck.

  1. Kneel and let the thighs and trunk remain erect.  Keep your hands on the hips.
  2. Arch backwards as you exhale.
  3. Slide the hands down on the back of the thighs and arch further.
  4. Balance yourself cautiously, exhale and release hands to hold the heels, one at a time.
  5. Press the heels and push the spine in the direction of the thighs that needs to be kept erect.
  6. Remain in this position and breathe in the normal course.
  7. Get back to the original position, in the reverse order of your performance, step by step.
  8. In the first few days, practice the pose once or twice. Do not exert force at any stage of the asana, as the vital parts of the body are in action.

Physical/Therapeutic benefits

  1. Tones up pelvic and abdominal organs. Relieves constipation.
  2. The masterstroke to cure spondylitis of cervical, lumbar and thoracic spine and the related pains.
  3. Patients of asthma and bronchitis get relief from the regular practice of this asana.
  4. A mandatory asana for patients of thyroid and parathyroid problems.
  5. Helps to control diabetes.
  6. Strengthens shoulder and hip joints and tackles the stiffness aspect.
  7. Provides shape to the obese thighs. Highly recommended for women, if they do not have problems mentioned in the ‘precautions’ section of this article. It provides shape to the body.
  8. Attends to voice disorders.
  9. Urinary problems, kidney issues.
  10. Gastro-intestinal problems like colitis, dyspepsia etc.

Spiritual benefits

  1. Prepares the body for spiritual practices like concentration and meditation.

Precautions

  1. High blood pressure patients, those with back and neck injuries, coronary problems, and those who have undergone abdominal surgery are not expected to this asana.
  2. Those with migraine and insomnia should not practice this asana.
  3. This is a difficult asana; begin by placing the toes close to the wall.
  4. A partner can help you in the initial stages.
  5. Some of the preparatory poses are Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana etc.
  6. Sit in Vajrasana for rest after performing this.

Coming back to the camel, just as the camel stores water in its humps for its long journey through the desert, Ushtrasana contributes to the storehouse of energy for the human body

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