Happy Hump-asana Day! Err…the hour-ish left of it [whoops!]. The good news: You still have time!
Today’s Hump-asana day Pose: Camel (Ustrasana)
So, begin in tadasana (mountain pose) and then make this face:
And then celebrate your rad body like this:
Speaking of camels, have you ever seen a camel tongue? They are gigantic and black. I know this because a camel licked me once [I’d rather not talk about it, he didn’t even call me afterwards]. Ok, let’s get serious [sort of]. In honor of the immense gratitude I feel today, let’s explore camel pose a bit, shall we? First of all, if you have insomnia or high blood pressure, a simple hero pose will better suit you. Additionally, camel pose is not something you want to begin class with or spontaneously jump into. Once you’ve started moving and have done some preparatory poses such as bhujangasana, dhanurasana, and virasana (among others) should you consider ustrasana. After assessing how your body feels, prepare for camel (or a variation) by doing the following:
- Kneel on the knees with the toes tucked under. Keep the thighbones perpendicular to the floor and in line with the hip sockets. Rotate the thighbones internally and gently press the hips forward.
- Reach both arms up until they are shoulder height. If you’re comfortable here, lift up through the pelvic floor and lower abdomen while reaching the left fingertips forward and the right arm back toward the heels until it touches the right heel.
- Return to center and repeat on the other side.
If the exercise above felt manageable, proceed to the following:
- Tuck the toes under. Place the hands on the back of the pelvis with the fingertips pointing down.
- Lengthen upward through the spine and begin to bend back while keeping the head in line with the spine. Keep moving your pelvis forward, opening up the front body and bending back until the hands can rest on the heels.
- Stay here for five to ten deep, full breaths before returning the starting position. Open your heart. Emanate gratitude.
- If that felt manageable, then point the feet, pressing the ankles and shins into the floor, and repeating the posture one more time.
- To come out of this pose, lead with the sternum instead of the head.
*Two things to remember: tuck the pelvis under and encourage it forward even as you bend back AND lead with your heart.
[As my teacher says, always lead with your heart – on and off the mat]
If you’ve ventured into the full expression of the pose, be cautious not to strain your neck. Sarah Powers wrote a great (short) piece about Neck Placement in Ustrasana.
Is that enough for you to do in one evening? Surely you have just one more moment…..
MWAH and g’night, yogis! xx
Happy Hump-asana Day, fellow yogis! Get your minds out of the gutter – Hump-asana Day, traditionally known as Wednesday or “Hump Day” in lamens/working-folk tongue, is a mid-week yogi treat. Hump-asana Day features a snippet of a pose worth spending some time exploring. And since they’re ALL worth exploring, we’ll never run out of poses for Hump-asana Day – rejoice!