Camel Pose: Improve Your Posture and Open Your Heart Center

This intermediate backbending stretch has many benefits as well as precautions. Read to learn more so you can do camel pose correctly

camel pose ustrasana





Always make sure you are stretched and warmed up before attempting to do camel pose.

Camel pose is a deep backbend. It’s great for opening the chest and the heart chakra

Camel pose is also known as Ustrasana (OOHS-tra-AA-SUN-aa) in Sanskrit. Ustra means camel, and asana means pose.

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Benefits of camel pose

practicing yoga

When camel pose is practiced daily as part of a yoga sequence, this pose can help alleviate the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Camel pose also has mental benefits like feeling less stressed.

Here are some more benefits of camel pose:

  • Stretches the neck, chest, abdomen, thighs, hip flexors, and ankles

  • Tones the abdominal organs

  • Improves digestion

  • Strengthens the spine, glutes, shoulders, and triceps

  • Relieves lower backache

  • Improves posture and flexibility of the spine

  • Alleviates menstrual discomfort

Camel pose precautions

a few breaths

Who should avoid doing camel pose? Anyone who has the following conditions should not do camel pose:

  • Back, ankle, wrist, or neck  injury

  • High or low blood pressure

  • Migraine headaches

  • Prenatal, pregnant, and postnatal women

Preparatory and follow-up poses


Step-by-step instructions for camel pose

camel pose

1. Starting position - Kneel on the floor with your legs hip width apart and in line with your shoulders. If you have knee discomfort, place a folded blanket on the yoga mat underneath you. Your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor with the soles of your feet facing the ceiling. 

2. Place your hands on your lower back with your fingers pointing down and pelvis forward.

3. As you inhale, tuck in your tailbone towards the pubis as if your navel is pulling it. Arch your upper spine and reach back for your heels. Straighten each arm with shoulder blades touching, and expand your rib cage.

spinal flexibility

Quick Tip: Only drop your head back if it’s comfortable for your neck.

4. Relax the gluteal and lower back muscles. Stay in this yoga posture for a few breaths.

Quick Tip: Avoid squeezing the glutes, as this will crunch the lower back.

5. To come out of camel pose, exhale, bringing your chin tucked in toward your chest and your hands onto your hips. Engaging the lower belly, use your hands to support your lower back. Take your time as you lift yourself up with care.

Modifications and variations for camel pose

pelvis forward

  • To modify: You may place a cushion underneath your knees to ease your way into  camel pose. You may also keep your hands on your lower back for support instead of reaching all the way back to your heels.

  • To increase the challenge: Keep your thighs, calves, and inner feet touching.

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