Yoga poses all have a lot of benefits that vary based depending on the ones you practice. You may have tried more popular poses, like Downward Dog, Triangle, or simple Mountain pose, but what about the Camel pose?
This backbend position looks incredibly satisfying. It’s great for anyone that spends a lot of time at a desk, as well as those looking for a relaxing move to settle into the evening.
You’ll find out more about Camel pose in this post, including its benefits and how to practice it safely.
Camel Pose Benefits
Before we get into the steps, here are some of the benefits of practicing Camel pose in yoga.
Other than delivering a nice stretch, Camel pose engages the thighs, hamstrings, abs, glutes, and back muscles.
Helps Rounded Shoulders
A lot of people spend their day hunched over a desk, cell phone, laptop screen, or steering wheel. This can take its toll on the upper back, neck, shoulders, and spine.
Camel pose can help relieve this as it opens up the chest, moving the spine in the other way to rectify rounded shoulders. This also helps ease any pain that has built up in the upper back and neck.
Aids Back Pain
Following on from rectifying round shoulders, Camel pose can help you avoid back pain. Back pain is often the result of bad posture, which is linked to weak abdominals or a stooped upper torso.
If camel pose is practiced properly, it activates the muscles in the abdominals and back, preventing back pain issues later on.
Yoga, overall, can aid digestion. Camel pose specifically stretches the intestines, abdominals, and stomach. This may help promote healthy digestion patterns and ease constipation symptoms.
Frees The Chest
Camel Pose’s backbend frees the heart chakra, which promotes love, compassion, and joy (to find poses that will balance your 7 chakras, read here). The movement can also improve breathing by opening up the chest and lungs.
Promotes Inner Strength and Harmony
In most cases, people feel strong, relaxed, and empowered when they practice Camel’s Pose. The deep stretch can feel very soothing, which may lower anxiety and stress levels.
How To Do Camel’s Pose
Now that you know some of the benefits, let’s get into the steps!
As Camel’s Pose involves a backbend, it’s important to perform the pose carefully and safely. We want to avoid any spinal issues, so remember to work at your own pace.
Performing Camel Pose
- Start on your knees with your legs around hip distance apart.
- Place both hands on your hips, resting the thumbs on the bottom of your spine.
- Shift your hips so they’re right on top of your knees.
- Engage the inner thighs, tensing them towards one another.
- Breathe in. While you inhale, lift your torso and draw your elbows towards each other. You should notice your rib cage widening.
- Place your hands so they lie on the heels of your feet.
- While your torse keeps rising, let your head move backward so you gaze at the sky. Activate your shoulder muscles to support the neck.
- Hold the position for a deep breath.
Releasing Camel Pose
- To release Camel Pose, draw your chin forward so it’s tucked inside your chest.
- Move your hands from your feet back to your hips.
- Activate your abdominal muscles.
- Slowly move your back to the beginning position.
Always ensure that you have full control of the movements. Do not overextend your back and avoid jerking movements.
Camel Pose Modifications
Camel Pose isn’t an extremely challenging pose, but it is harder than beginner level. It involves a large amount of flexibility, movement, and breathing.
If you’re not at a more skilled level yet, you can modify the pose to match your ability.
Easy Modification: Blocks
Camel Pose involves a deep backbend, but if the full bend is too hard, you can use yoga blocks to help you along.
To use yoga blocks, position the block in between your legs behind your back. If you can’t reach your heels, you can plant your hands on the block for support.
Add the blocks at any height you wish, but make sure that you still feel the stretch when using them.
Modified Half Camel Pose
Try this modified version of Camel Pose before you try the full version. You can try progressing from this pose once you become comfortable with it.
- Start on your knees with your legs around hip-distance apart. Keep your hands on your hips, letting your thumbs rest on the bottom of your spine.
- Raise your seat so your hips are directly above the knees.
- Breathe in as you draw the elbows together, then activate your abdominal muscles.
- Move one hand behind to rest on the equivalent foot (left hand on left foot, right hand on right foot).
- While you breathe in once more, move your opposite hand to the back of the wall, allowing your head to fall behind.
- Hold for three to six breaths.
- Move your hands back to the bottom of your spine, allowing your torso and head to move forward.
- Hold the position for a deep breath, then repeat with your opposite hand.
Practicing Camel’s Pose Safely
Camel’s Pose is tricky, so don’t feel disheartened if you are struggling with the movement.
You’ll need to practice it a lot before you master the pose, but here are some tips to help you along the way.
Look After Your Back
Always lead from the upper body. You may feel as though you should rest your weight on your lower back, but this can increase your injury risk.
It’s best to think of your lower body grounded into the earth, with your shoulders, chest, and ribs doing the harder job.
Maintain Hip Alignment
It’s easy to let your hips move back or forward too much, but this makes straining more likely. Concentrate on positioning your knees in the right space at the beginning. Check that your hips are positioned above your knees as you lift the body.
Become aware of the body as it moves through the entire extension. If you find that you aren’t extending or are overextending the hips, correct it as soon as you notice.
Activate Your Core
Many people let their bellies out when they begin practicing Camel Pose, but this is dangerous. If you don’t activate your abs, your lower back bears the brunt of the weight.
You can address this by tensing the area in front of your hips. This can help engage the abs, but if you’re still finding this difficult, you may need to modify the exercise for your level.
Some people get headaches after practicing backbends. A tip to avoid this is by practicing Camel Pose near the end of your yoga session, instead of at the start. This ensures that your body is warm and prepared for deeper stretches.
You can also try practicing some cat-cow movements to engage your back and abs beforehand, but remember to avoid overextending yourself.
Now you know how to do Camel Pose!
This challenging yoga pose has several benefits, like easing back pain, improving strength, and rectifying rounded shoulders.
Camel’s Pose does involve the spine, so use caution and stop immediately if you notice any pain. Remember that you can modify the position with the ‘Half Camel’ version or use blocks to help make it easier.
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