Camel Pose, Ustrasana, is part of the back bend pose and is also classified as a chest opener. This pose is preformed on your knees and is one of the foundation poses to do deeper back bends. This is a very popular pose in Vinyasa classes. Doing this pose on a regular basis is a good way to relieve back and neck pain that can come being stationary all day.
Camel pose stretches the front of the body including the abdomen, quads, hips and of course chest. It helps to improve flexibility. It also strengthens the back muscles and improves your posture. Camel opens up the lungs and chest helping to increase breathing and relieve respiratory ailments. It can help to stimulate the kidneys with improves digestion, as well as energize the body reducing anxiety and fatigue.
To successfully do camel pose, begin by kneeling upright with your knees hip distance apart. Press your shins and the top of your feet into the floor. Do not squeeze your buttocks. Rest your hands on your pelvis, lengthen your tailbone down toward the floor and widen the back of your pelvis. Begin to slightly lean back with your chin slightly tucked into your chest. (If you are a beginner or have some troubles, it is ok to stay in this pose here). Reach back and hold onto each heel. The palms of your hands should rest on your heels. Begin to lift up through your pelvis. Hold this pose for up to a minute. To release, bring your hands back to your hips. Lead with your heard and lift your torso by pushing your hips downward towards the floor. Bring your shoulders up last.