The Zamasana for the month of May is Ustrasana, better known as Camel Pose. There are many great benefits to practicing this pose, including the strengthening of the back, opening up of the shoulders, chest and quads as well as boosting your energy levels for a positive outlook! This pose is also prescribed to counter the effects of over eating and improve digestion.
1. Come up onto your knees, with your legs hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips and keep your hips over your knees and internally rotate your thighs, squeezing them toward each other.
2. Inhale and engage your belly, and reach into your tailbone towards the back of your knees, creating space between your lower vertebrae.
3. With another inhalation, lift your sternum and draw your elbows towards one other, allowing your rib cage to expand slowly.
4. Keep your chest raised and your core engaged. Keep your spine long and make sure your chin is tucked as you drop your hands toward your heels.
5. Press the heels of your hands into the heels of your feet while placing your fingers over the soles of your feet. Keep lifting using your sternum with steady inhaling and exhaling. You can tuck the toes for extra lift if required. Alternatively, you can place the palms of your hands on your buttocks or lower back, rather than your heels, for a less intense version of the posture.
6. Next, lift your shoulders to allow the trap muscles between the shoulder blades to rise up and cushion your cervical spine. Gently lower the head and neck and gaze at the tip of your nose. Take a few breaths here. If you have neck issues, do not take the head back.
7. To leave the pose, slowly bring your chin back toward your chest and your hands to your hips with your thumbs on your lower back. Engage the lower belly and use your hands to support the lower back as you come up slowly to exit this pose.
Enjoy Ustrasana for May!