Ardha Ustrasana

Definition - What does Ardha Ustrasana mean?

Ardha ustrasana is a heart opener, a backbend and a front body stretch. The name is derived from the Sanskrit ardha, meaning "half," ustra, meaning "camel," and asana, meaning "pose."

To enter this asana, begin by kneeling upright on a yoga mat. A blanket can be added under the knees for additional cushioning. Keeping the knees and calves at a 90-degree angle, then lower the right hand to touch the right heel. The left hand and arm reaches up and back stretching the front body. The deepness of the back bend varies according to the flexibility of the yogi. If touching the heel of the foot feels too intense, use a block next to the foot instead. After two to three breaths, mindfully exit the pose and repeat on the opposite side.

Ardha ustrasana may also be referred to as half camel pose in English.

Yogapedia explains Ardha Ustrasana

Ardha ustrasana is a modified variation of and preparatory pose for ustrasana. The intensity of the backbend and openness of the chest strongly activates the anahata (heart) chakra. This can make the yogi feel quite vulnerable, even uncomfortable. Despite the strong feelings this asana evokes, it can help remove emotional blocks and connect the heart and mind.

Additional benefits of this pose include:

  • Stretches the chest and the front of the body
  • Lengthens the thighs and groin
  • Strengthens the upper back and legs
  • Opens the shoulders

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