ustrasana

[oosh-TRAHS-anna] aka camel pose

ushtra = camel

Practice USTRASANA when you need to boost your mood & increase energy. This pose is a backbend and chest opener which helps to counteract the slummed posture often found in depression. 

BENEFITS: lengthens quadricep & hamstring muscles * strengthens back muscles * opens shoulders & chest  * increases lung capacity * stimulates thymus gland   

MUSCLES: anterior neck muscles * deltoids * pectoralis major & minor * rectus abdominis * psoas major * quadraceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis) * hamstrings

PREP POSES: anjaneyasana * bhujangasana * dhanurasana * salabhasana * setu bandasana * supta virasana * virabhadrasana

COUNTER POSES: forward folds * twists * balasana * supta baddha konasana

MODIFICATIONS:

  • Limited spinal flexibility? Weak abdominal muscles?
    • Place your palms on the sacrum to provide support for the back instead of reaching for the feet.
    • Keep legs engaged.
    • Lift & open your chest on each inhalation to create space between your vertebra
    • Engage your abdominal muscles as you exhale to build muscular support for the spinal extension
  • Experiencing lower back tension? Vertebral compression?
    • Curl your toes under to elevate the heels or use a block to reduce the degree of spinal extension.
    • Avoid squeezing your glutes or shoulders together.
  • Experiencing difficulty stacking hips over knees?
    • Use a wall as a guide as you press your pelvis forward.
    • Do not allow knees to spread wider than the hips
  • Experiencing shallow breath?
    • Tuck your chin to your chest to allow the airways to fully open.

PRACTICE CHILLASANA VIDEO LINK: Stay tuned..coming soon to YouTube. Subscribe to our newsletter to get updates.

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RESOURCES
Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual ~David Swenson
Yoga Anatomy ~Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews
Yoga for Depression ~Amy Weintraub
Yoga Sequencing ~Mark Stephens