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Camel Pose or Ustrasana, improves spinal flexibility, while also strengthening the back muscles and improving posture. It stretches the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors. Through compression, it also stimulates the kidneys, which improves digestion. This pose is an energizing and invigorating heart-opener. Avoid this pose if you have a neck injury, migraine or have high or low-blood pressure.
Start by kneeling upright with knees hip-distance apart. Use a block between them to ensure they stay hip-distance. Rotate thighs inward and press down through your shins and tops of your feet. Resist the urge to tighten your gluteal muscles.
Place your hands on the back of your pelvis, with fingers pointing to the floor. Move your tailbone down toward the floor and press your hips forward.
Begin to lean back by listing through your sternum, chin slightly tucked toward your chest. Beginners can stay here with hands on the pelvis. You may deepen the pose by reaching back to reach hands to each heel.
Keep your thighs perpendicular to the floor, with hips directly over your knees. If you cannot reach your heels without compression in your low back, tuck your toes to elevate your heels. Optionally, you may rest your hands on blocks on the outside of each foot.
Lift through your sternum, turning your arms outward without squeezing your shoulder blades. Your head is in a neutral position, or dropped back without crunching your neck.
Hold for 30 breaths. To release, bring your hands back to your front hips. On an inhale, lead with your heart, and lift your torso by pushing your hips down toward the floor. Allow our head to come up last. Push back to Downward Facing Dog or Virasana.