Restorative Pose of the Month: January 2015
Restorative Pose Of The Month, January 2015 - Ustrasana, Camel Pose
by Skila Ramirez, Author of YogaFit Restorative
Set Up: Have cushioning under your knees if you choose to kneel. This pose can also be done from a seated position on the floor, or in a chair. If seated in a chair, make sure back is away from chair. Reach arms overhead as if you are going to do a large backstroke movement to swim, then make fists and place your fists on the low back or hips as your arms begin to lower down. This backstroke motion helps to activate and contract muscles in the back and shoulders while opening the chest. Focus on breathing into the chest cavity, around the heart, and lift your ribs. Hold 3-5 cycles of breath. Then release into child’s pose (balasana) or just come to neutral and shake out your arms. Keep the head in alignment with the heart, hanging the head back can cause serious damage to the neck’s tissues and bones.
Physical benefits: Strengthens upper spine muscles to improve postural alignment. Helps to stretch chest.
Energetic benefits: Prana Vayu-works to strengthen respiratory system, Samana Vayu-opens ribs up and away from pelvis for improved digestion and elimination.
Pranayama: Expanding Breath- Take slow, long inhalations up and around the heart, hold the spine in place while you exhale passively.
Visualization: Feel as if your heart functions as a singular lung, and each breath inflates the heart and chest space. Let your chest open and heart move forward.
Chakras affected: Opens up the 4th Chakra, strengthening your ability to give and receive love unconditionally.
Theme: Karma – To get what you give, and the residual love that resides in all hearts of those we love.
Affirmation: I am open to give and receive love unconditionally. I recognize a perfect and infinite flow of love running through me. All that I give, from this perfect place, comes back to me, and the cycle of giving and receiving love is infinite in my life.