Feeling blue and want to connect to yourself and those around you?
Have you been slouched forward over a computer or desk all day?
Looking energize, strengthen and stabilize the body?
Open Your Heart in Camel Pose!
Camel pose in yoga is one of the deepest backbends, but also great for beginners. It stretches the front body (hips, psoas, abs, chest, shoulders and throat) while strengthening the back body (hamstrings, glutes, spinal extensors).
It lengthens the core while working it and creates a deep heart opening. By expanding the chest and ribcage, camel pose can enhance and deepen our connection to our breath.
The Benefits of Camel Pose
Camel also works on an energetic level to open up the heart, encouraging us to release pent up emotions, old stories or long-held grudges.
The front of the heart is connected to how we treat others and pairing this pose with Loving Kindness practice can increase SEL (social-emotional learning), our capacity for empathy and our willingness to consider and understand how someone else is feeling.
The back of the heart is connected to how we show love to ourselves.
Practicing camel pose in yoga strengthens the back of the body and our ability to love and accept ourselves just as we are. Lately self-care has become synonymous with fancy spa treatments and retail therapy but it doesn’t have to be a pedicure or massage.
We can practice self-care simply by noticing negative thought patterns and shifting them. Or by taking 5 minutes after each meal to close our eyes and breathe. The best self care is something we can do in the spare moments of every day rather than scrolling social media!
How To: Camel Pose
Begin by standing on your knees, with knees hip-width apart
Place hands on your low back, fingers facing down and thumbs out
Draw elbows back and navel in and up to open and lift the chest
Allow the head to drift back gazing upward while keeping the back of the neck long and spacious
Keep the lower back long and try to create and even curve through the spine
Hands can stay on the back or bring hands to the heels, thumbs on the outside of the feet
More Fun Ways to Practice Camel Pose!
We take yoga adventures to many places around the world. It’s super easy to find a camel in the desert but we can also practice camel pose on a forest adventure by becoming a wolf howling at the moon! The “Hoooooooooooooowl” is not just fun, it’s also a long exhale which stimulates para-sympathetic response (think rest and digest, rather than fight/flight).
Tips for Mastering Camel Yoga Pose
If you are new to Camel, don’t rush to grab your heels. Take your time with your hands at the lower back to provide support as you find more opening through the chest and shoulders. You can also tuck your toes under to lift the heels closer to your hands.
Draw your tailbone toward the ground and keep your core engaged to support the back bend.
Notice if you’ve stopped breathing – then simply start again!
After Camel take a few moments to sit on your heels, close your eyes, take 3-5 deep breaths and notice any sensations or emotions that may have come up during the pose. Try your best to simply observe without judging.
Kid-friendly Camel Pose Variations
Camel strengthens proprioception, our awareness of where our body is in space, and is a great pose to support sensory integration. Many young children are disconnected from the back of their body so this pose may be challenging at first. Take it slow!
Try camel pose facing a wall to help children keep their hips lifted as they reach back - challenge them to do camel while their thighs remain touching the wall.
Practice stretching your long camel neck by reaching one hand up while the other stays at the low back or heel. Alternate on the breath inhaling each time you raise the arm and exhaling back down.
The shape of camel is actually very similar to belly boat. Try singing and rowing along with this boat series to warm up the abdominals and back muscles before doing camel.
More Kids Yoga Videos!
Did your kids love grunting like a camel and howling like a wolf? Animal poses are really fun for kids, and there are tons of them. Check out these Top 5 Animal Poses and sing, stretch and roar together!
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