Camel Pose, or Ustrasana, is a backbend as well as a great chest opener. Its element is water, which is fitting since it’s wonderful for blood flow and detoxing.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to the knees and sit back on the heels with toes tucked. Lift off the heels to engage the torso and ensure that you’re in alignment with the hips, chest, neck and shoulders. Lift then drop the shoulders away from the ears. Inhale and bring the palms to the lower back opening up the chest. Exhale as you begin to drop the head back. Keep the hip bones pushing forward as they will want to fall back as well, keep them aligned! Stay here or reach the hands for the backs of the ankles, this will cause the shoulders and head to fall back more as well. Push the navel towards the sky to get a nice bend in the back as you continue to keep the hip bones pushing forward. Try to relax the neck and drop the shoulders away from the ears. Breathe here. To come out of the pose, slowly lift the head and then the torso – place the hands on the lower back or the floor for support if you need to.
Chakras Affected: Camel pose is a heart opener and therefore great for our heart chakra, or Anahata. Backbends and heart openers can bring emotions to the surface. Several people have reported crying, or feeling really angry, and some even say it makes them feel elated. Whatever is going on in your heart, be prepared for more than just a great stretch.
Benefits for Children: This can be a very deep pose for adults, but flexible children who don’t have far to fall find camel fairly easy. However, keeping the hands on the lower back is perfectly acceptable to get the benefits of this pose. Children who are experiencing growing pains may also get fast physical relief from camel. Follow with downward dog for a great full body stretch.