Camel and Spinal Compression

Compression of the spine is definitely something to avoid while in Ustrasana (camel pose). When you over engage your glutes (butt muscles) it causes a clenching that puts pressure on the sacrum and SI joints which is not a good thing (think sciatica pain).

While coming into camel 🐫 remember to keep the quads (front of thighs) and hamstrings (back of thighs) engaged while softening the glutes. You should have a sensation that the glutes are activated but you’re not primarily using them to push you forward as your body takes the back bend. Instead focus on the feeling of engaging your quads, which will give you a strong base of support as your torso sinks into the backbend. This tuning into your body is what yoga is, when coming into a pose take the time to listen to your body and it will help you.

If you struggle with camel or it causes discomfort try taking half camel by reaching back with just one arm. Or try placing a block on its tall side and reach back for it or even reaching back for a wall rather than your feet.

Somedays I have no issue with camel and other days I modify it. Modifications allow you to receive the benefits of the pose without putting undue strain on your body. Would you like me to post some modifications for camel?

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