Definition - What does Ustrasana mean?

Ustrasana is a backbend that boosts shoulder flexibility, increases core strength and stretches the entire front of the body. The name is derived from the Sanskrit ustra, meaning "camel," and asana, meaning "pose" or "posture."

To enter this asana, kneel down, then lean back to touch the feet with both hands. The deepness of the bend varies according to the flexibility of the practitioner. Advanced practitioners are often able to bend far enough to touch their feet with their head.

Ustrasana may also be referred to as camel pose in English.

Yogapedia explains Ustrasana

On a spiritual and emotional level, practicing ustrasana is regarded as an effective way to relax the mind and find calmness and balance. Because the practitioner must lean backward without seeing where they're going, this asana promotes a deep sense of trust in the self and the body, as well as feelings of inner strength and fortitude. It also opens the anahata (heart) chakra as the chest spreads wide and bears the heart outward.

Performing this asana slowly and carefully allows the practitioner to have a better understanding of the limits of their body and how to avoid over-stretching themselves. This can feel like an unnatural and uncomfortable position at first, but it forces the yogi to overcome their fears and trust their own body. They can do this by focusing inward while taking deep and controlled breaths. Those with limited flexibility can modify the pose by tucking the toes under to lift the heels.

The physical act of bending over backwards is also seen as being a way of tapping into the nervous system and slowly discovering all of the emotions and feelings that are stored up within one's self.

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