This pose is one of my favorite poses, because I can feel the benefits from it as soon as I come out of the 5- 10 breath hold I tend to practise in this pose. Not to say that anyone can’t hold it longer or shorter. That’s what I truly LOVE about yoga, your practice is YOUR practice, no if’s and’s or but’s about it.
How to attempt camel:
Allow yourself to honor the state of your knees, if you do find you have sensitive knees, please keep your knees safe and protected by using padding, padding doesn’t show weakness, it shows you care enough about your knees to want to take care of them!
Once you have come to a comfortable kneeling position take a second to look back and make the alignment with your ankles to knees, this also plays a part in knee protection and ensures that you are getting the most beneficial stretch and support.
Allow your right hand to find your right heel, once you have found stability send that left hand to meet your left heel.
Try not to clench your glutes even though i know that’s exactly what you wanna do! Instead use the front of your thighs (quadriceps) to help push your hips forward.
Now that you have activated your quadriceps engage your core and push your chest (sternum) into the sky, if you feel comfortable enough in this posture after checking each point maybe you start to tilt your head back allowing for a stretch through the front of your throat (this is not completely necessary so don’t push it, even if your head isn’t tilted back you are still benefiting I promise!) if you do decided to tilt your head back keep the integrity in your neck, our necks are precious and oftly fragile.
To help take weight off your knees push into the ground through the tops of your feet, this will also help fire up your quadriceps, I find i can get a deeper stretch in my hip flexors when I push into the tops of my feet
Hold for as long as you feel you can, you don’t need to play hero, the first time i attempted this posture my limit was 2 breaths. Work yourself into the posture each time maybe holding for an extra breath J **** REMEBER this is YOUR PRACTICE! *****
Coming Out of your Camel:
The safest way I have found to come out of this posture is to bring my chin to my chest ( if your head is tilted back) and releasing your right hand from your right heel first find stability and gradually come up while releasing your left hand from your left heel. To counter this posture I will usually allow myself to sit my bum back onto my heels and come into a “child’s pose” for twice the amount of breaths I held the posture, to allow my body to feel the work I have just done and allow for reflection on what I felt during the posture and where I felt it (which I suggest also observing while in the pose, but sometimes it’s easier to reflect after, or maybe you’re doing both, both is a fantastic option as well )
This posture is seen as an amazing heart opener, and gives the whole front of your body an intense stretch including your shoulders. This posture is directed at opening and stimulating your heart chakra. If you did tilt your head back your throat as well was included in the stretch. Stretching the front of your body really promotes a higher level of circulation of blood and oxygen to the heart and in turn the whole body benefits. Also the rib cage is opening allowing for the lungs to reach a higher capacity of breath, we all know we could use a bit more breath in our life. More oxygen allows for a heighten mood, in turn a heightened you! J It’s also an energy booster, so if you are feeling a bit tired, or just need a lil’ boost get your camel on!
If you are feeling that this pose if a bit advanced, I have to agree with you. That does not mean, however you can’t modify, or start small. If you don’t feel comfortable going into full camel maybe you start with only taking one hand back to its matching heel and keeping the opposite arm stretched out in front of you. If you decide this is the better choice for you, you have taken on “Half Camel posture”. Or maybe you just want to start out by getting the feel of engaging your quardicepts and you come up onto your knees and ever so slightly lean back, and move on from there when you hear your body telling you it’s finally safe to take the next step. I encourage you to play, it’s your body so get to know it J but just remember to play nice and keep your awareness on the signs that your body gives, regardless what your signs are I promise your body will share them <3
Last but not least if you have further questions, I would love to hear them, this is my first of many explanations of poses, I will be doing an explanation of at least one pose a week, with the intent to help assist you in your practice as well as learn from your experiences by sharing mine