Ah! The camel! A beast of burden from ancient times that is renowned for its ability to manage everything nicely even in the midst of adverse living conditions. Exposed to extremes in temperature in its natural habitats, camels are uniquely endowed by nature with admirable coping mechanisms.
Its gangly but sturdy legs are extremely useful for long-range walking and running. Its hump is ideal for storing fatty tissues from which the camel can get much needed energy in times of want or famine. Its disposition is gentle, and contrary to popular belief, the camel as a beast of burden is highly resilient, accepting the loads it is required to bear, as a natural part of its existence.
In Hatha Yoga, we have the Camel Pose, or Ustrasana in Sanskrit (ustra = camel, asana = pose) to open ourselves to the valuable characteristics of protectiveness, versatility, and resiliency.
Qualities of the Camel Pose
The camel is an animal that is suffused with humility. It does not balk at responsibility and does its best to cope with hostile surroundings instead of whining. These qualities can easily be discerned in the details of the Camel Pose which features a back-bend that is not quite that easy to achieve and hold, unless some degree of flexibility both of the body and the mind has already been experienced through other Hatha Yoga poses.
The Camel Pose is absolutely fitted for complete opening of the chest and upper spine, which frees your neck for gentle movements.
Demonstration of the Camel Pose
Benefits of the Camel Pose
- Mental – this pose requires belief in one’s abilities to cope with challenges. That makes the pose ideal for developing a mindset whose foundation lies in a healthy self-confidence.
- Physical – this pose has curative applications for medical conditions such as menstrual discomfort, fatigue, slight pains in the back, respiratory problems, and anxiety issues.
- Spiritual – a dedicated practice of this pose contributes to the uplifting of the spirit, because challenging and even adverse situations are seen less as insurmountable and depressing obstacles, but more as opportunities to explore how best to cope, with full humility and patience.
The Camel Pose is not recommended for anyone with knee injuries. Also, be extra careful when doing back-bend postures such as that of a Camel Pose to avoid causing painful trauma to the neck muscles, or pinching the nerves in the neck.
Before practicing the Camel Pose it’s important that you already have experience doing other Hatha Yoga poses such as the ones you’ll find on video when you subscribe to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter. In the following article we’ll cover the “Pigeon Pose”, yet another more complex yoga pose.