How To Do: Ustrasana // Camel Pose

It's backbend time in yoga class which probably means its toward the end of the practice. With not much extra time to spare, yoga teachers usually offer instruction on Bridge Pose (because it's accessible to a larger audience) and offer more difficult variations only "if it's in your practice." 

Sometimes that phrase is a godsend (because it's basically the yoga teacher telling you to do whatever you want)but if you're trying to advance your practice, then you may need some extra instruction. Luckily, we at Grip The Mat have got your back(bends).

Like most backbends Camel Pose can be understood as two-fold: a front-body opener and a back-body strengthener. Before launching into the pose, warm up with these engaging stretches

Warm Ups: Front body lengtheners + back body strengtheners

Warm Up 1: Reclined Half Hero pose with hands down

  • Benefits: stretches the tops of the ankles, thighs, deep hip flexors and, if you're taking this variation, it works the rotation of your shoulders.

Warm Up 2: Sphynx pose with knees bent and hugging in 

  • Benefits:c reates spaces in the front line while activated the hamstrings (double Camel Pose prep goodness).  

Warm Up 3: Half Frog Pose

  • Benefits: stretches entire front body

Warm Up 4: Any yummy shoulder stretch. Try a variation on Ghomukasana arms (below)


Now you're ready!

Camel Pose Prep:


Step-By-Step Camel Pose

  • Kneel on the floor with knees hip distance and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Bring your hands to either your hips or together at your heart and press your shins into the floor and firm your legs.
  • Keeping your thighs over your knees, rotate your thighs in and contract the low belly. This creates more space in the lower back.
  • Keep the spaciousness in your low back as you begin to lift your heart up toward the ceiling. Contract abdominals to bring your front ribs toward your front pelvis and lift the back ribs up out of your lower back as you begin to bend backwards.
  • Practice staying here and, if you feel up for it, try reaching your hands for your ankles for the full variation (pictured below).

Important: If you experience any painful pinching of the spine, come out of this pose immediately and work on leg and core strength + front body opening for the time being.

We can't wait to see your yoga moves a the next Grip The Mat yoga social event! Join us for an hour of mixed-level yoga followed by a wine, cocktails or brunch at our next event in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, or London!

Cheers & Namaste. 

Model: Jake Paul White

Clothing: Ohmme Apparel