Camel Pose: 5 Tips on Alignment

Ustrasana—as it is written in Sanskrit—is a deep, back-bending, and heart-opening pose. This backbend offers great benefits, especially for those of us who sit hunched over behind a computer all day.

Alignment and preparation are essential when practicing Camel. This pose provides a deep stretch for the front of your entire body and a backbend that can relieve neck and back pain.

This pose can cause injury if it is not done correctly. As with any yoga pose, students must pay attention to the alignment cues. Try to avoid competition and Always Listen to your body. It is the best guide.

When you first start in Camel pose, relax your back gently and recline only slightly. As you progress, it will become easier to extend the pose fully. Are you ready to start? Here are five tips for proper alignment.


Start by lowering yourself to your knees. Spread your legs hip-distance apart, with your toes tucked in. Untucking toes may give you more extension if you are more experienced with Camel.

Find your comfort level. Draw your hips above your knees. Tuck your tailbone in and draw your belly in to engage your core.

Prepare yourself

Put your palms on your lower spine, either side. Your fingers should be pointing down to the ground. Draw your elbows closer together. Imagine you’re squeezing the block between your elbows.

As you relax your shoulders, lengthen your crown.


Continue to extend as you arch back your spine over your feet. Imagine that you are bending your back to a giant ball of sand. Continue to drop and round your back. Use your breath to get deeper into the pose. Keep your core and abs strong.


Test yourself once you reach a position that feels as if your backbend has reached its fullest extension. After releasing your hands from your lower back, allow them to fall toward your heels.

Wrap your hands around the heels of your shoes if your hands are close enough to touch them. You can lift your heart up to the skies by pressing into your hands. This will cause a deep stretch on the front of your body. Keep your hands on your lower back if you don’t reach your feet. This will support your spine.


Once you’ve reached your maximum extension, you can choose to release your neck and drop your head. Hold this pose wherever you are for 3 to 5 breaths.

Continue to relax your shoulders. Engage your abs. Tuck your tailbone. Push your hips so they are directly above your knees. When they lean back, some people find their hips also dip back. It would be best if you kept them moving forward.

Variation of the Wall

Camel is no different. There are many variations, depending on your flexibility and strength. One tip that I received from a teacher was to do this pose with a wall. Face the wall, pressing your hips and thighs against it. Keep your hips and thighs against the wall throughout the pose.

It may feel awkward at first, but it’s a good reminder to keep your hips pressed forward and aligned over your knees.

As part of your home practice, try this pose. Test out all the variations to find the one that is most comfortable for you. When you see the sweet spot, the Camel will become your favorite pose.

Camel pose is a great way to start my week. I like to incorporate it into my Wednesday practice. I track how my body reacts to the position and find new levels of flexibility every time.

These alignment tips should be helpful to you in your practice. Please share any tips and tricks you’ve discovered along the way.

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