Ushtrasana (Camel Pose): How to Do It, Its Benefits, and Contraindications

Ushtrasana, or Camel Pose, is a backbend that stretches the entire front of the body, from the ankles to the thighs and groin, abdomen, chest, throat, and deep hip flexors. It strengthens the back muscles and improves posture. This asana is a staple in many yoga practices for its deep stretching and strengthening capabilities.

How to Do Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

  1. Starting Position: Kneel on the yoga mat with your knees hip-width apart and your thighs perpendicular to the floor. The soles of your feet should face upward, but you can tuck your toes under if it’s more comfortable.
  2. Hand to Heel Connection: Inhale, lift your chest up, and start to arch your back. Reach back one hand at a time to grasp your heels. If this is too challenging, tuck your toes to elevate your heels.
  3. Arching the Back: Push your hips forward, ensuring they’re over your knees. Lift your chest to the sky, allowing your head to tilt back, but keep your neck in a comfortable position without straining.
  4. Hand Placement: Your hands should firmly grip your heels, with your fingers on the inside and thumbs on the outside. Actively push your hips forward to increase the stretch in your front body.
  5. Breathing: Hold the position for 30-60 seconds, breathing deeply. To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your lower back for support, and slowly straighten up to a kneeling position.

Benefits of Ushtrasana

  • Improves Flexibility: Significantly increases flexibility in the spine, hips, and front body.
  • Strengthens the Back: Strengthens and improves the flexibility of the back muscles, aiding in posture correction.
  • Stimulates Abdominal Organs: The stretch stimulates abdominal organs, improving digestion and relieving mild digestive issues.
  • Reduces Stress: Opens up the chest, improving respiration and reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Increases Circulation: Enhances blood circulation, especially to the head and heart, when the chest is lifted.


  • Lower Back Issues: Those with lower back issues should approach this pose with caution or avoid it.
  • Neck Problems: If you have neck problems, keep your gaze forward instead of tilting the head back.
  • High Blood Pressure: People with high blood pressure should maintain a neutral head position or avoid this pose.
  • Knee Injuries: If you have knee injuries, place a folded blanket under your knees for cushioning or avoid the pose.

Modifications and Tips

  • Use Props: For those who can’t reach their heels, use yoga blocks placed beside each foot to provide support.
  • Engage Your Thighs: Keep your thighs engaged and hips pushing forward to protect your lower back.
  • Gradual Progression: Start with simpler backends or half camel pose and gradually work up to Ushtrasana as your flexibility improves.


Ushtrasana is a powerful asana for enhancing physical and mental well-being, offering benefits from increased spinal flexibility and strength to improved digestive health and stress reduction. As with all yoga poses, practice Ushtrasana with mindfulness, paying attention to your body’s signals and making modifications as needed.

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