Camel pose, or Ustrasana, can be a challenging pose for those who suffer from lower back pain. This variation uses a block in order to help keep the back comfortable.
- Start in a kneeling position.
- Fold back the front of your mat to create a soft pad for your knees.
- Keep your knees hips-width apart, and align your pelvis directly over your knees.
- Inhale, and try to find a space where you feel equally balanced over both knees.
- Curl toes under, so that the balls of your feet are in contact with your mat.
- In order to help maintain length in the spine, place a yoga block (or towel or book) between your thighs.
- Externally rotate your thighs to push the block forward.
- Place your hands on the lower part of your back.
- Inhale and draw your elbows together. Lift your sternum so that it reaches in the opposite direction from your tailbone.
- Use your hands to help push your tailbone forward.
- Take a few breaths in this posture.
- If you want to move deeper, reach back and grasp your heels with your hands.
- Take three to five breaths in your fullest expression of the pose.
- When you're ready to exit the posture, slowly twist to one side, curl your chin to your chest and lift your body with your core. For extra support while rising up, keep one hand on your lower back and squeeze the block with your thighs.
Not only does camel pose stretch your back and core, it also helps to relax your chest and sternum, which can bring a sense of release and freedom to the whole upper body.