Alignment Basics: Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
By Kellie Mathes
To begin, from a kneeling position, set your knees and feet hip-width distance apart. Stack your shoulders over your hips and your hips over your knees. Press the tops of your feet into the mat. Place your hands at your low back with fingertips pointing down and palms pressing toward your back. Set your eye gaze forward. Take a deep breath in and lift your chest and eye gaze up toward the ceiling and pull your shoulders back and around your spine. As you exhale, drop your head back and walk your eye gaze across the ceiling and behind you. With hips pressing forward, reach one hand toward the heel and then the other. To go deeper into the pose, with each inhale, lift the chest higher to lengthen the spine and push the hips more forward. Walk your eye gaze from the ceiling, to the wall behind you and eventually to the floor, creating a deep back bend. The goal is to lengthen and create space on the front-side of the body while creating an arch in the spine.
Tuck your toes under your feet to make your heels more accessible when reaching your hands toward your feet. Keep your eye gaze forward if dropping your head back is uncomfortable.
Some common misalignments and how to avoid them
The most common misalignment in Ustrasana takes places when practitioners focus more on reaching the heels rather than keeping the front of the body long while arching the back. Compression in the low back occurs instead of a deep arch in the spine. Arching and bending the back is healing to the spine and compression is not. Avoid the lean back by lifting your chest up before looking back.
Upcoming Yoga Teacher Trainings & Weekend Intensives
Belleville, IL: September 20-23
Belleville, IL: October 18-21
Belleville, IL: November 15-18
Belleville, IL: December 6-9
Thursdays & Fridays 5-8pm, Saturdays and Sundays 8am-2pm
Led by Kellie Mathes, serious yoga students and aspiring yoga teachers will learn the fundamental physical theory and alignment principles behind both Hatha and Vinyasa inspired yoga. You will learn and be taught how to teach two set yoga sequences, one hatha and one vinyasa inspired.
Kellie Mathes is a Tier 2 Baptiste and Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP) and founder of Go Yoga! Express and Go Yoga! Express Belleville. She teaches yoga classes and workshops, leads yoga teacher training programs and provides continuing education for yoga teachers.
For more information and to view the studio class schedules, visit goyogaexpress.com, call 618-416-5199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for #unstoppable training, visit baptistefoundation.org.
216-5 Frank Scott Parkway East
Swansea, IL 62226
7645 Magna Drive
Belleville, IL 62223