As well as just looking cool on your instagram feed, camel pose stretches out the hip flexors, psoas, thighs and abdominal muscles – meaning it’s the perfect pose for anyone who spends most of their day sitting. The pose works to strengthen your spinal muscles, improve your posture and and open up through the chest and shoulders.
Start by kneeling on your mat, with your shins and tops of the feet planted on the ground at hips width distance apart. Firmly pressing your shinbones into the mat and start to engage through your hamstrings.
Place your hands on your lower back, keeping your elbows in line with the shoulders and broadening through the collarbones. Gently press into your hands at the same time as you engage your hamstrings to push your hips forward and lengthen your tailbone towards the mat.
Switch on your abdominals, drawing your navel towards the spine and pulling the lower ribs in. Imagine lifting up as you start to bend backwards, keeping your chest open to the ceiling.
Straighten the elbows, drawing your shoulderblades together as you begin to reach for your ankles (or a bolster on top of your legs). You can let your head drop back if you don’t feel any tension or compression in your neck.
To come back out, tuck the chin towards the chest and press the thigh bones forward to lift torso. It can be nice to counter the pose with a child’s pose!
To Perfect this Pose
Camel pose can make it easy to crunch into the lower back – if you’re groaning as you come out of it, there are a few things you might want to try thinking about next time you come into the pose.
We want to think of grounding through the lower body while lifting through the upper body. Rather than just pushing the hips forward to bend back, imagine the movement starting at the top of the spine - reaching up and over.
Even though this is a heart-opening pose, to protect the spine we need to keep the abdominals engaged. Instead of pushing the belly out as you lean back, keep the floating ribs pulled in and draw the naval in and up.
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