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How to Yoga: Camel Pose

Hi. I'm Liz, teaching for my studio, Brazilian Yoga and Pilates in Los Angeles, and I'm here to show you Ustrasana or Camel Pose. Camel Pose can be really challenging for people with lower back pain, so I'm gonna show you a few variations to help ease that. It's important for anyone if you have back pain or not. Actually, if you don't have back pain, I think that makes you about 1% of the population, but it's a great idea to always keep the back comfortable whenever you're doing back bends. The first thing we're going to do is come to a kneeling position, then we're gonna fold our mat a little bit in front, so that we create a nice knee pad. Keeping your knees, hip with apart, you're gonna try to bring the pelvis directly over the knees. From here, there's a lot of work to do in terms of straping into the spine and finding lengths throughout all of the vertebrae. Inhale and feel yourself equal on the right and left half, also using both legs equally. Slowly slip the toes underneath. Now, what you wanna think about it, in this pose, Camel, the direction is always kind of working up, before you think about going back. That way, we keep the spine long. So, our spine is gonna need to grow in both directions. Now, to remind and to help our spine do that, we're also going to use a block or you can use maybe a towel rolled up between the legs or a book, if you don't have a block. So, comeback here and grab your block and place it right between the sides. As you place it between the sides, and (repeatedly?) try to externally rotate the femurs or the thighs, so that this block moves forward without moving the body in space. Once you feel that you'd moved that block forward a little bit, you've created some space for the tail bone to kind of swing forward. Almost like a doggy door to the side. Go ahead and place your hand back there, on the... On the lower part of the back, so you can feel it coming flat. Inhale, draw the elbows together and grow the sternum in the opposite direction of the tail bone. Now, help push your tail bone forward with your hands and if this is enough work for you, go ahead and stay here and flatten out the hands on the butt. Inhale and take a few breaths here, allowing the heart to open towards the sky. Now if you feel secure here, go ahead and lean back into spinal heel beneath the hands. Inhale and take a few deep breaths here. Now, Camel Pose is a pretty intense pose. So, you really only need about 3 or 4 or maybe 5 breaths here. Come up, by twisting to one side and curling the chin into the chest. Nice and slow, take the hand to the lower back if you need a little bit of extra support and squeeze the block with the side, also to activate the lower core. Place your back to the side and take a rest. That was Camel Pose. I'm Liz McDonald, teaching at my studio, Brazilian Yoga and Pilates. Camel Pose is a great heart opener. A way to start relaxing the chest and the collar bones and give you a sense of freedom