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Foundations Of Yoga – Camel Pose – Ustrasana


– What’s up, everyone? Welcome to Yoga With Adriene,
I’m Adriene and today on the Foundations of Yoga Series we have Camel Pose
or Ustrasana. This is an amazing back
bend, I love this pose but I think it’s really
important to know the foundations of it so you
feel awesome and supported going in and out of it, and so you can grow your
back bending practice. So, hop into something
comfy, grab a blanket or a towel if you have one.
If you have two blocks great but you don’t need them,
you don’t need anything, just our bodies and an open mind and a strong breath, alright? Let’s get started. (light upbeat guitar music) Alright my friends,
let’s begin on all fours. We’re gonna start
with a little Cat-Cow because I would be
a shitty yoga teacher if I just took you
right into Camel Because Camel is a back bend and we need to make sure
that we’re prepared for that in our body before we work
the foundations of Ustrasana. So, come on all fours. Take the wrists
underneath the shoulders and the knees
underneath the hips, and when you’re ready,
start to come into your body moving with the breath.
Inhale as you drop the belly. Open the chest forward,
maybe look up, and then exhale.
Really press into your feet, press into your palms,
’round through the spine, chin to chest. Inhale, drop the belly. Open the chest, look up, and exhale, rounding
through the spine, navel draws up,
tailbone lengthens down, press into all ten toes,
or all of your toes. Couple more times, inhale. (inhales) And exhale. (exhales) One more time. (inhales) Warming up through the spine. (exhales) Awesome. Heart to Earth pose. Take the elbows down
where the hands are and, actually I’m gonna
walk my elbows out but you can walk your knees out. I just want to stay on my mat. And, we’re gonna
come to basically a half Downward Dog here, a little puppy posture
here to open up the chest, open up the shoulders. Find length in
the lower back, so… allow your pelvis to rock
towards the sky. Pressing at the
tops of the feet, inhale. (Inhales) Sweet, then draw the navel in. This is a great thing to
practice too, for Camel. Connect to your core, draw
the navel in from you center. Engage the low belly
and slowly slide all the way through
onto the belly. (exhales) Great. Sphinx Pose. So, press into the
tops of your toes. Elbows are right
underneath the shoulders. Press into your palm through
down through your index finger and inhale. Open the chest. Inhale in again. Find a broadness through
the upper back body. So, engage the muscles there, find a little broadness
of the back body and then exhale. Open the heart. (exhales) Great. Now practice engaging
the belly here in Sphinx. So, even if it’s
just an exploration, you don’t have to do
anything one way or the other but, just draw the
navel in a little bit Maybe lift the lower belly
in and up, Uddiyana Bandha. (exhales) Awesome, and then release. Forehead comes to the mat. (inhales) We’re gonna interlace the
fingertips behind the tail. You can keep the
heels hip-width apart and when you’re ready, press
into your pubic bone firmly. Press into the tops of the feet. Try to root down
through your pinky toe. Pull the knuckles away towards your heels
and when you’re ready press into your foundation
to slowly lift the heart up. Now, press into the pubic bone, press into the tops of the feet but resist this clenching
of the buttocks. try to keep the buttocks soft
here, Also great for Camel. Big breathes. Keep the chin
tucking into the chest here. (inhales) So, chin tucking in.
Big, big big breathes. (inhales) Shalabhasana variation. Locust. Open the chest,
one more breathe. (inhales) And then exhale,
release everything. Press into the palms. Come back to all fours. Awesome. Knees are
gonna come together arch to arch in the feet.
We send the heels back. We roll up through the spine. (inhales) And head over heart,
heart over pelvis. Hero Pose, Virasana.
Sit up nice and tall, inhale in. Open the chest. (inhales) And exhale, dropping
the shoulders down away from the ears.
Lots of space. (exhales) Awesome. Okay, so Camel Pose. A back bend. One of those
really wonderful back bends that, if you take your time
with, it can be the most amazing thing in the world. And, I find that if you rush it, It can be something that can be can be quite painful
and also perhaps be, you know, prone to
injury, so this is a good one to have a foundations for. So, if you have a blanket
you can grab it now, if not, you don’t need it. It just adds a little
bit of extra cushion …for the pushin’. Just kidding,
there’s no pushing here, for the knees and the legs. So, we’ll come up onto
the blanket if you have it, just to kind of alleviate
some of that pressure. And if you have it, just
go ahead and let the ankles stay on the blanket
and the toes spill off. And, whether you
have a blanket or not, Everyone come to all fours and we’re gonna bring the knees right underneath the hip points and then just imagine
kind of squeezing the inner thighs together. In fact, if you have
a block handy you can bring that block
to the inner thighs and just kind of feel
what it would be like to squeeze the
inner thighs together which creates this
kind of scissor effect, this lift up through
the pelvic floor. Alright. Alright, alright, alright. Okay, here we go. So, I’m already working
with my energetic body I’m pressing into my toes and lifting up
from the pelvic floor. I’m engaging my inner thighs
without tightening my butt. (giggles) And then, nice and
slow I’m gonna bring the hands to the waistline
and come all the way up. And, I’m gonna try
to find that here. Lifting up, up, up. Pressing. (inhales) (exhales) And then I’m gonna
loop the shoulders try to visualize what’s
happening in the upper back body as you loop the shoulders and
allow those shoulder blades to really ground
down the back body. Think upward current of
energy through the front body, ground into the back body,
particularly the tailbone. Lengthening down towards
the core of the earth. Okay. So now were
starting to find that, uh action of hugging the muscle
to the bone for support. I have my bones stacked right. And I’m ready,
so I’m gonna bring my hands to the waistline and the thumbs
right to the sacrum here, so that boney plate,
right about here there are other variations
which we’re gonna explore but for starters let’s just
bring the thumbs right there and I’m gonna
actually use the thumbs to remind myself:
upward current, upward lift through
the front body and then lengthen
down with the tailbone. So I’m not clinching or tucking but I’m actually thinking
about grounding, lengthening down
to the core of the earth rather than tucking into itself. ‘Kay, take what works for
you, leave what doesn’t. Sometimes a certain cue will
really work for someone else and then it won’t work for
another person but vice versa. So, just trying to
offer as much as I can in the Foundations of Yoga for as many people
watching, practicing. Kewl. Alright. Then we move the mic a little. And we play with that lift
from the pelvic floor. Begin to open the chest. Again, that squeezing is
really important here. Often forgotten. So find that
engagement of the inner thighs as you draw energy
up, up, up, up, up pressing down
through the elbows, shoulder blades drawing
in together and down and then keep the
neck super long here, lots of awareness in the
neck as we open the chest. Then press firmly into
the tops of the feet and think about
taking your heart center up and over like a big rainbow
rather than straight back. So I’m wanting to re– I’m wanting to create
and then retain or keep the back lengthened.
What’s the word I’m looking for? Don’t know. But, wanting to
keep this length in the spine, I’m not wanting to crunch. Especially in the lower
lumbars, so visualize… You know me,
always being creative, your heart lifting up and over rather than going straight
back in space, okay? So here we go. Inhale,
loop the shoulders, pull the elbows back,
lift your heart. Focus on this foundation of squeezing the
inner thighs together and lifting up through
that center channel, that plumb line, so that
the pelvis is lengthening, the tailbone is lengthening down and the pelvis is coming
right underneath your core, your center. Keep the belly engaged,
your core engaged as you begin to lean back,
hug the elbows together and then think about lifting
your chin towards the sky and drawing the
shoulder blades down. You might just stay here (exhales) or you might be able to
continue that up and over effect (exhales) and reach down to
grab your heels. Just start with the
fingertips on the heels and lifting up from
the armpit chest. Inhale, then go up and over. Lengthen tailbone
down towards the earth, down towards
the backs of the knees. You want to keep the inner
thighs squeezing together here not splaying out and then maybe I come a little
further down, maybe not. Offering variations
in a moment. Inhale. Carve a line with
the nose to look up. If it feels right we might
release back all the way. (exhales) Again, lengthening tailbone down shifting the hips slightly
forward, lots of length here. To come out of the posture, bring one hand to
the back then the other. Tucking the chin,
tucking the chin and then slowly coming
back the way we came. So, tuck the chin, bring
the hands to the back, and roll it up. Then we’ll take a break. Just coming back onto the heels and letting the blood restore. So come back to
this upright position before you do Child’s Pose. Deep breath in. (inhales) Deep breath out. (exhales) Deep breath in. (inhale) Baby Child’s Pose. (relaxed moan) Alright, so let’s try again. So a lot of the common things
is there’s too much pressure on the knees, so that’s
why the blankie’s good. A lot of times we get a lot
of pain in the lower back because the knees are too wide. Or, we maybe we
set ourselves up right but then when we start
to go into the posture the knees start to splay. It happens all the
time in foundation. So that’s why it’s so
important to find that connect and then retain,
remain connected. retain that connect,
remain connected as you grow the posture, right? Just like… The foundation of a
house or something. You want it to remain intact. So that you can be supportive. I’m in a weird mood. Okay. The other thing is that we wanna– ooh, very interesting.
Oh that’s a roly poly. Baby roly poly. You’re chill. Another thing
is that we really want to bring the hands
to the heels right? We wanna come into this awesome
shape that looks so cool and feels so awesome, but
maybe it doesn’t feel awesome and we can’t quite get there so the blocks
are really helpful. You’re gonna bring then to
the outer edges of your heels, bring them at the top, tip top… …level. (chuckles) And then, here we go. We squeeze
the inner thighs together, thumbs to the sacrum. Loop the
shoulders, find that length. Go through your checklist,
lengthen tailbone down, lift from the armpit chest. Inhale in, press into
the tops of the feet, lengthen tailbone down, think
up and over with your heart. So, up and over rather than
sending it straight back. Think up and over. And then, maybe instead
of coming to the heels, you can come to the block her
which is significantly higher. And we open. Stay engaged
through your core, breathing deep. (exhales) (inhales) So this is a great variation, you can still take the
head back if you like here. Breathing deep. Ooh, that’s
not good for my shoulders. Breathing deep, deep, deep. To come out, tuck the chin bring the hands to the
waistlines, slowly roll up. Sending it back, coming to a
little Virasana variation here, breathing deep. (exhales) If you have a block,
I didn’t really like that block variation
for my shoulders. Just, I think, anatomically. Another great thing
for the block is to bring it
between the ankles so that you can
just kind of have a nice base for your
feet to squeeze in. Let’s do one more
Ustrasana back bend. Pressing into the
tops of your feet, lift your heart,
head over heart, heart over pelvis.
Take your time, especially if you’re
in public class don’t let anybody rush you. It’s your body,
this is your temple, your vehicle so
you gotta be mindful. Lengthen tailbone down,
lift up through the front body. This time, another variation, I’m gonna take
the fingertips behind, palms on the lower back. So, this is another variation. Inhale, loop the shoulders, pressing down
through the thumbs, lengthen tailbone, engage belly. Just like we did in sphinx. And then when you’re ready, think up and
over with the heart. (exhales) And play. (inhales) (exhales) Keep the inner thighs engaged, if you have that block there
you can squeeze your block. Inhale, open the chest. And then maybe we reach back Grab the heels. Maybe not. And then we use our
breath to really evolve here, evolve the shape.
Go on a little journey. (exhales) (inhales) (exhales) Let the breathe move you. (inhales) (exhales) And then we slowly tuck
the chin to the chest, bring one hand
then the other back, slowly, slowly
stacking the spine. Head over heart,
heart over pelvis, smile. (inhales) Big breath in.
Exhale all the way down. Palms come together.
Awesome work. (exhales) Just notice. Great, then bring
the knees together, take a deep breath in, and Child’s Pose, yummy. (exhales) Rounding through the spine here. If it fells good to bring
the fingertips forward go ahead and do that. Find what feels good.
Take a deep breath in. (inhales) And a long breath out. (exhales) Tight. Press into
the tops of the feet. Tuck the chin into the
chest, engage the belly and slowly roll it back up. Awesome work. Alright my friends,
awesome work. I bow to you, namaste.
I commend you for combing though the
Foundations of Yoga Series and going deeper,
really taking the time to grow your practice.
It’s for free. You can do it in the
comfort of your own home. So go through that playlist,
check out other poses, learn things from the ground up. Maybe go back and relearn
things in your body, you know? Because we’re always
changing, nothing’s permanent. And be sure to let me know
how it goes down below. Your questions and comments
are always welcome. Share this video with a friend if you think they might enjoy it and subscribe to the
channel already, alright? Love you, take good care. See you next time. Namaste. (gentle guitar music)

Jerry Heath

100 Comments

  1. I feel a pull in my quads and I can't seem arch my body. It feels as if I get stuck right as I'm about to arch. Is this normal in the beginning?

  2. I thank you for your videos..I am a power lifter and work construction…you really help my nervous system recover been doing yoga for a while now but I enjoy you practice..

  3. Thanks for share your wonderful yoga because this make me feel great and full energy boosting for life, keep do your amazing job. ,

  4. I did this practice for the third time today and I have a few problems with it. The first is that I always feel dizzy when I´m coming out of the camel pose and I´m trying to do it really slowly. Is that normal? And second: Nothing hurts when I`m doing the pose but after 30 Minutes my hips start hurting. Not very much but I was wondering if that`s normal too? I`m thankful for any help!

  5. Thank you for doing a foundation for Camel's poss. I've always struggled with this back bend.

  6. Hey Adriene 🙂 A while back I got into the 30 days of yoga and I was doing so well, but then I had to stop because my knees started hurting bad enough that it took a little while for them to feel normal again. What could I have been doing wrong because I want to get back into it, but I don't want to make the same mistake? Also, I really appreciate your videos. They are so well thought out and progressive.

  7. i love your videos! could you maybe consider making a video for shoulder/chest opening exercises? maybe even collarbone area? thanks for your channel!

  8. I didnt think this would be possible. But I listened to you, and on the third try I found my heels. Thank you Adriane. You constantly make me consious of what I've missed training growing up.

  9. Thanks so much for doing Camel pose, it's one I struggle with. One question, I get very dizzy – anything I could obviously change to improve that?

  10. Adriene, I finally said it yesterday, and it felt so right. "You are my guru!" You are! At least, what I would consider a personal guru. It's especially these types of videos. When your honest nature comes out. Telling that roly-poly,"Your chill"; making casual sexual references; expressing your own discomfort. I really relate with you and look up to you. Thank you! Namaste!

  11. Beautiful as always, thanks darling. This is always one of my favorite backbends!

  12. Is there any specific type or brand of yoga mat anyone can suggest? I've been using mine for two years and it's very thin and oddly shaped. Looking for something with more 'squish' I think.

  13. I wish I had a darn mirror so I could see how close I am getting to my heels…lol

  14. Wow, I can't believe I came upon a yoga channel where the girl is not wearing some super short panties and you can actually focus on what she's saying! Not that she's not hot though 🙂

  15. When I felt the shake my fan was like BREEZE LEEANNA BREEZE
    Love love love looooovvveeeeeee 🌞😍

  16. Love watching your videos and I am subscribed to your channel also have you on Instagram and twitter. I was curious what other kind of workouts do you do?

  17. Some of the most beneficial tid-bits you give us, is to Ease Into It…Find What feels Good! I take that with me with me anytime I happen to catch a class or scope out another video (rarely!!) You are so special because you're genuine n' silly and so generous to share it! Much love!

  18. Adriene, What do u think about coming up on to tip toes so that the ankles are in easier reach for the hands ?

  19. this is the most perfect explanation of the great Camel…..Thank You, you are amazing!

  20. By the third try it was much easier to find my heels! As always, much love!

  21. Ciao Adriene! A new subscriber from Italy. My father was a yoga teacher many years ago and he introduced me to the practice since very young. The thing is that his way of talking and showing me yoga was very gentle and mindful (yoga nidra) and based on breathing. Growing up I lost the practice and just recently I looked for the sun salutation on youtube and I found YOU.
    As soon as I heard your voice and saw your movements I knew that I had finally found yoga again, the powerful yet gentle practice my father taught me.
    Having said that I tried to follow you on that camel pose, I did not rush but still I came out of it with a very 'tender' lower back. Nothing serious but still I pushed too much. What kind of video do you suggest me to recover?
    Much gratitude.

  22. Is there a chance that lower back pain during this pose is because my core muscles aren't strong enough to support my back in a bend like this?

  23. Uau! This was hard work. Amazing! Glad I did this because I really felt that I should do more foundation videos. Thank you Adriene for lighting up my day.

  24. I so enjoyed this video in the series. I have always struggled with my stiff back in yoga, but walking slowly through this pose helped me achieve a comfortable bend for the first time! Thanks! 🙂

  25. Loved the description "heart up and over"! This made my practice so much safer and enjoyable. 🙂

  26. Your video is always amazing. I woke up this morning with body pain and headache and I ran to your yoga channel as I always do whenever I need some healing. Perfect one to stretch and energize my body parts. Now my body pain is gone and less headache! Always awesome. Thanks Adriene!

  27. Adriene!You changed my life and i will be forever grateful! I want endless 30 day yoga chalenges! Maybe 60 days!love you

  28. I was just going through the thumbnails and for some reason I just did the pose and I got the most satisfying beautiful crack. So thanks I guess 😂

  29. We just finished the Foundations playlist tonight and are stoked to start messing around with your other videos and our bodies using our new found knowledge and confidence. Thanks for supplying yet anther reason to bend/stretch/strengthen and sweat with my hunky husband 🙂

  30. I tried to do this today but since my grandad passed away in May heart openers have been so hard for me to do. I found myself having to stop because it felt physically and mentally overwhelming and I actually cried all the way through meditation afterwards which has never happened! I almost wanted to curl up into a ball and protect myself if that makes any sense? I want to open up but it is almost too much and I do not know what to do about it. I will keep working back towards this pose though because I used to enjoy it.

  31. Thank you! I love your "weird mood" makes me laugh! 😂 I'm just about to graduate my 200 hours so I enjoyed and learned a lot from your videos 👍🏼

  32. I'm LOVING your help with my practice. Learning. Breathing. Growing. Thank you! Namaste! <3

  33. I did a bit . not yet all the way back tho is that normal. I'm afraid to hit my head on the floor lol ..

  34. Yoga With Adriene , Only the first and second level of yoga blocks are securing in this pose. Using the lengthiest option of the yoga blocks is not supporting and can result in falling behind imo. Its very easy to just put a bolster on the legs and put the hands on the bolster, much more supporting.

  35. Hi Adrienne. I am wondering if you have thought about doing a video dedicated to the historical context of yoga. As a white person who benefits in innumerable ways from this tradition and practice, I have been drawn to reflect on the importance of placing my own practice in this context, and would love to hear your perspective as a person with professional training in yoga and what the historical significance of yoga means to you and your practice. Thanks!

  36. I was having a hard time with this pose when we did it in the Revolution series, so this practice was super helpful! its such a fun pose and I felt amazing doing it this time around. Thank you

  37. Love your videos. You are a character. Love your sense of humor!!

  38. you crack me up so much with your jokes, haha!! I am randomly bursting into laughter during each practice I do with you. you truly are a blessing <3

  39. I couldn't do this pose before, maybe because I needed to loose some weight, but I tried this again and I did it!!! Helps to reduce my low back pain, thanks a lot Adriene!!

  40. I love this series! I using these videos to practice to prepare for flows. I am a beginner, and was wondering if you will be adding any new foundations.

  41. Just finished the whole Foundations of Yoga playlist. You rock 🙂

  42. I'm trying to make my way through all your videos in 2017 by doing one or two every day! I never realized that my lower back starts to hurt when i do this pose because my knees are too far apart! That tip definitely helped me! I'm sad the roadshow isn't coming to Chicago this year, because my sister went to the one in 2015 and that's how I found out about your videos! Hopefully in the future you come back to Chicago or I can plan a trip to Austin to come to one of your classes!

  43. I agree Adriene you are awesome, listening to your instructions has allowed me to do poses I couldn't before. I'm also doing 30 day challenge. feeling good!
    Thank you!!!

  44. Oh my god that was so challenging! The blocks were my friends today 🙂 Thank you again for you teaching and suport, Om Shanti and Namaste 🙂 x x x x

  45. Hi Adriene! Just wanted to let you know that your guidance works like magic! I' ve achieved Camel and Crow poses, through your videos step by step and found it easy enough..
    on the contrary thought I was far from it when I tried them in my other yoga classes at a studio!
    Amongst other things you are a great teacher!Thank you!

  46. This is very useful! I always want to be better at this posture without hurting myself~~Thank you for your detailed guidance

  47. this was amazing! today is my birthday and i wanted to be able to touch my heals by today but i was to afraid to do it, saw this video and you helped me overcome that fear and i touched them!! now i'm overjoyed! thank you

  48. why do that 5:59 though????!!! it cracked me up so badly i hurt my back lol

  49. Adriene, could you do an entire yoga video solely focusing on backbends, please? Thanks. Peace. ✌🏼

  50. Really good explanations! I though I had managed to do it, but looking in a side mirror, I realized my thighs weren't staying perpendicular to the floor, but moving backwards along with me. On what should I work to fix that?

  51. Mam after doing the camel pose for 10 days,I started feeling a sort of pain at my spine…It is normal or should I stop doing it ??

  52. I feel like I am going to pass out or throw up every time I try this pose in class. I am a beginner but not that much of a beginner? seems like I should be able to do this– but I have to stop every time.

  53. It was such an interesting experience to try this pose after not doing it for almost a year. 😀 I used to be able to just curve my spine like that naturally but now it apparently needs more nurture and care before it wants to bend that much again. This is a lovely way to learn patience. Namaste!

  54. Okay, first (much needed, though my Ego hates to admit it) visit to the Foundations playlist, and I already appreciate the extra in-depth instruction for correct alignment. I knoow I'm getting into Camel correctly, now- my low back had 0 strain and I was shaking like a tiny purse dog on it's first trip outside. I could always feel that I was dumping my weight into my low back just to be like 'Oh, I'm doing Camel pose, I'm awesome (not that I disagree with the awesome part, necessarily),' but I wasn't lifting the pelvic floor or engaging my thighs or core, and I think that is where I could have accrued an injury. Thank you so much, Adriene, for having these videos available! It only took me 8 years to finally revisit some of my foundations 😉 but I'm so appreciative to have access to this very helpful and useful information. You're the best! 😘 Namaste. 🙏

  55. SO NICE! Love this pose and taking it s-l-o-w. What sort of microphone do you use Adriene, the sound is always so good!

  56. How do you keep your hips forward without squeezing or having any tension in your butt?

  57. I’m a beginner, having taken a few classes and done a few videos. A friend recommended your channel and I started the foundation series. I LOVE these videos. The breakdowns of each pose were great, the humor and joy is wonderful and I’m a big fan of Shaky Graves, too. You so rock! Now that I’ve gone through this series, which series would you recommend for a beginner to enjoy next?

  58. I was checking out the comments and no one seems to bother about how she mentions useless things . I mean she is good and pretty but it's so damn annoying. I am not a hater but I hope you can take it as a healthy criticism. You explain so well but don't try to be funny unnecessarily. I thought it was just me but this one time I had a friend over for yoga and she said the same thing .

  59. Tried this pose in yoga class today and found it difficult to do.
    Watching and listening to you here, showed me my yoga teacher could of explained a little more on lifting the pelvic floor!
    Thank you for explaining this pose in detail 🙂
    Will be practicing this one with you now….

  60. "Extra cushion for the pushin" 😂❤ I love you
    I'm working on this pose right now and your video was very helpful.. it really does open up the heart energy.. Thank you

  61. OH! Preparing the body before the pose. What a novel idea. A naturopath (sp) told me to sleep on the floor w/o pillow and start ustrasan yoga. My back had enough of the floor by 3:30 am so I made some coffee, did an enema and started practicing. There were good teachers before you this am, but they did not prepare for the stretch. I will stay with you and let you teach me right how to prepare for each thing I learn to do. Oh, and now I can reach my ankles. I am starting to learn the lift and open and stuff. Or rather, starting to feel myself do them. I just can't hold it very long. But I should get there soon.

  62. I began a ❤ affair with Ustrasana. Thanks for pointing out the "no rush" element!

  63. thank you for help in opening my Anahata more fully; w/ out damaging my physical being in the process!

  64. Need to know where or how to place heels so I can reach because I'm a bigger girl….

  65. i love this video and learned to much…but most of all left me feeling so good, smiling and laughing. thanks Adriene.

  66. Wowwww i was so dizzy after this pose! Anyone else experience this???
    Also my downward dog is getting better, my heel can almost touch the ground! Amazing, thanks Adriene

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