There are many back-bending yoga postures that work to enhance spinal flexibility. Not only do these poses work to boost energy levels, but they also correct your posture. Certain poses are more advanced than others, such as camel pose, and they need to be practiced with proper form and care. To avoid injury, yogis recommend warming up prior to engaging camel pose.
What Is Camel Pose?
Considered an advanced asana, camel pose represents the resemblance your body makes to a camel’s hump during the posture. It is a deep backbend that is energizing in nature, working to increase circulation throughout the entire body. In doing so, camel pose can help wake up the nervous system, while simultaneously stretching the spine and the muscles along the front of the body. Those are the muscles that surround your chest, abdomen, hip flexors, and quads.
Who Can Do Camel Pose?
No matter what your experience with yoga is, you should never enter camel pose without warming up beforehand. By loosening up the hips, spine, and front of your body before camel pose, you reduce your risk of injury during the pose. If you have chronic issues with your knees, shoulders, neck or back, avoid camel pose. If you have abdominal separation (diastasis recti), do not practice camel pose. There are various supported versions of this pose that may be safer for some people, for example, pregnant persons. Lastly, do not practice camel pose if you have pain or instability in the lower back.
How To Properly Do Camel Pose
Camel pose works to increase circulation and energize the body. For that reason, you may not want to practice this pose before bed. To correctly do the pose, please see the following steps:
- Begin in a kneeling position, placing a folded blanket or towel under your knees if they are sensitive. Keep your knees hip-distance apart and your back straight.
- Lengthen your spine by squeezing your glutes to tuck your tailbone towards the ground. At the same time, lift your chest and the crown of your head towards the ceiling.
- Place your hands on your sacrum, facing your fingertips down to support your lower back.
- Take a deep breath in and lift your chin back, looking up and back as you start to bend backward.
- Make sure to breathe into your entire rib cage and maintain length in your spine to avoid putting pressure on your lower back.
- Reach your hands behind you and place them on your heels. If you cannot reach your calves, put yoga blocks behind you and place your hands on them.
- While bending backward, make sure to breathe deeply and engage your quads and core. Try to draw your shoulder blades together behind you, opening up your chest. Take three to 10 breaths in this position.
- To safely come out of this pose, engage your core and lift your hands off your heels or yoga blocks, and return to the starting position. Your head should be the last thing that returns to an upright position.
Make Sure To Engage Your Muscles
In order to do this yoga pose correctly, you need to engage your muscles. If you don’t engage your hips and abs, you cannot properly support the vertebrae on your spine. That can put too much pressure on your lower back and increase the risk of injury. Always engage your abdominal and quadricep muscles during camel pose. If you feel like your back is taking too much weight, warm up your core and hips with moderate exercises first.
Get Your Hips In The Right Position
Depending on how much flexibility and the natural position of your pelvis, your hips may fall too far backward or push too far forward during camel pose. If the muscles along the front of your body are too tight when you reach back to your heels, your hips will come back to compensate. If you over-bend your lower back, your hips may come forward. The ideal position for your hips is just above your knees. To ensure that your hips remain in that position, keep your knees hip-distance apart and engage your abs and quads.