Yoga Back Stretching Exercises

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FREE YOGA VIDEO: Ustrasana Pose (Camel Pose)
Ustrasana or Camel Pose is a basic backbend posture that can really help open up the front of your body. When we talk about forward bends, we’re opening up the back of the body; and when we talk about backbends, it’s the front of the body we’re concerned with: the hips, the iliopsoas muscles, the shoulders, the chest. It’s important to remember that Camel Pose is NOT about grabbing your heals. It’s actually about opening your entire spine in a large arch.

CAMEL POSE: Tips & Tricks
The single most important thing to keep in mind with Camel Pose is that your hips want to press forward as much as possible. This means that your bum is moving away from your heals, not relaxing down. In order to find this dynamic in the posture, you want to press down into your feet, chins, and knees as you press your hips forward with your hands on your lower back.

USTRASANA POSE: Open Your Heart
The next important thing is to remember that your heart wants to open up and expand UP not down. Our natural reaction to backbends is to close off our chest; but the better choice is to relax your heart open as the shoulders move together behind the back.

COMING UP
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Once you get deep into the posture, it can feel quite comfortable, but be sure to come out of the pose carefully! The best way to come out of the posture is the same way you went in: hands on hips, head back, hips forward… slowly roll up!

HOW LONG?
This pose can be pretty intense, but it’s always helpful to set a “breath goal” before your start. 10 breaths is a good starting breath goal, and you can build from there. Camel Pose will help improve your practice of all other backbends as well.

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