Move of the Week: The Camel Pose

May 27, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

The camel pose helps lift one's mood, open one's heart, and deepen one's breath. (
The camel pose helps lift one's mood, open one's heart, and deepen one's breath. (

There is something very invigorating about the camel pose. Upon completion, the whole front of the body will feel long and open, while the back muscles will feel warm, supple, and pleasantly worked. The camel pose helps lift one’s mood, open one’s heart, and deepen one’s breath.

Despite these wonderful benefits, go cautiously into this pose. It is an intense back bend, requires tremendous focus, and can strain one if he or she has a serious back or neck injury. It is also not recommended for someone with high blood pressure or insomnia.

Preparation Exercise. To prepare the body for this backbend, start with some gentle chest stretches and back stretches. One good preparation exercise is to roll out the back on a foam roller or small rubber ball. This will help warm up the back muscles and mobilize the vertebrae.

When ready to begin, kneel on the knees with the toes tucked under. Keep the thighbones perpendicular to the floor and in line with the hip sockets. Rotate the thighbones internally and gently press the hips forward. Reach both arms up until they are shoulder height. Lift up through the pelvic floor and lower abdomen while reaching the left fingertips forward and the right arm back toward the heels until it touches the right heel.

Return to center and repeat on the other side.

If this feels manageable, point the feet and repeat the exercise again. This makes the exercise more challenging.

Tuck the toes under. Place the hands on the back of the pelvis with the fingertips pointing down. Lengthen upward through the spine and begin to bend back while keeping the head in line with the spine. Keep bending back until hands can rest on the heels.

Stay here for five to ten deep, full breaths before returning the starting position. If that felt manageable, the next step would be to point the feet, pressing the ankles and shins into the floor, and repeating the posture one more time.

To come out of this pose, lead with the sternum instead of the head.