|English Name(s)||Camel Pose|
|dṛṣṭi (gaze)||नासाग्र दृष्टि / nāsāgra dṛṣṭi (to nose)|
|Asana Type||Kneeling Asanas|
|Muscles Stretched||Quads, hip flexors|
|Styles of Yoga||--|
|Location in Ashtanga Vinyasa Series||--|
It is a very deep backward bend performed in a kneeling position. Many people find backbends difficult or challenging, because bending backwards is not an activity with which most are familiar.
After performing Ustrasana, the pulse rate will often have increased considerably, while the breathing should be deep and slow.
A deeper stretch can be achieved by separating the knees slightly wider at the outset. The "full expression" of camel varies widely between practitioners, with some finding it quite difficult to progress beyond a slight backward lean; at its deepest the head can be between the knees.
As a stretch it opens the whole of the front of the body, including the hip flexors and pectoral muscles. Traditionally it is seen as opening the "heart centre".
The asana improves core strength, spinal, hip and shoulder flexibility and stamina, and is one of the 26 asanas included in the Bikram Yoga sequence.
Contraindications and cautions
Don't collapse in your neck area, so that the blood vessels that bring blood and oxygen to the brain are not compressed, otherwise you may feel dizzy, get unstable and the overall posture becomes unsafe. Practicing Ustrasana can make many beginners new to yoga feel distinctly ill, with lightheadedness or nausea being quite common after-effects. However, this does usually improve with practice.
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