The yoga position, ustrasana, is said to benefit the entire upper body, relieving back pain and constipation. Details.
Sleep easier, reduced stress, improved flexibility… Many are the health benefits of the practice of yoga. One pose in particular may even relieve digestive issues like constipation and lower back pain: Ustrasana, also known as “camel pose.”
The key stretch after a day in front of a screen
“It is the counter-posture of the position sitting in front of the computer !”, launches immediately Amelie Decoux, osteopath and yoga teacher in Annecy. We just have to see what it looks like in practice. On your knees on the ground, you arch your back, your sternum rises towards the ceiling and your hands rest behind your thighs, on your ankles or in front, depending on your flexibility.
In video, Dua Lipa gives us a yoga lesson with this Sirsasana
Done correctly and regularly (two to three times a week), “stretching can relieve the back by causing the posterior muscle chain to engage, which will strengthen the spine”, specifies Amélie Decoux.
With the front side of the body fully stretched, the posture also promotes transit. “It’s as if we stretched the colon, illustrates the osteopath, we give it space. The diaphragm moves away from the pelvis to make more room for the digestive system and create more blood supply. And better vascularity leads to better organ function.”
It’s like stretching the colon, giving it space
Amélie Decoux, osteopath and yoga teacher
Performed in the morning, on an empty stomach after a few warm-up postures, this stretch awakens and disrupts the rest of the digestive system. However, the relief effect on constipation is not systematic, especially if it is not caused solely by the colon but also by stress or any other particular state of health, underlines Amélie Decoux.
As a bonus, “this posture of great “opening of the heart” boosts the nervous system (the twist stimulates the nerves), stretches the quadriceps and opens the rib cage, which allows you to breathe better”, completes the specialist.
Performing Ustrasana Without Getting Injured
If you don’t practice yoga, you can also include this posture in a stretching routine, says Amélie Decoux. To do it without hurting yourself, a few rules must be followed.
Sitting on the heels, raise the hips above the knees, placing yourself vertically. The arms rise towards the sky when you inhale, then place themselves in namaste (hands clasped in front of the heart) when exhaling. Tight glutes create a slight retroversion of the pelvis to protect our lower spine.
On the inhale, the sternum – which brings us into the pose – rises forward, and the shoulder blades pull back. We repeat this inspiration two to three times before letting our hands slide behind our legs. If you are comfortable, you can relax your head backwards. The intention should be to truly stretch, creating space between the diaphragm and the pelvis.
To come out of the posture, a long inspiration accompanies the hands on the opposite path, from the heels to the namaste. On the exhale, the glutes return to the heels. We wait a few moments before changing posture, to avoid dizziness.
For a complete practice, we hold the so-called “camel” position for three to five deep breaths, coupling it with other postures. Beginners, however, should be careful not to contort themselves too much.
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The “camel pose”: this yoga posture that relieves back and stomach pain
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