PEAK POSTURE BREAKDOWNS
Camel pose is an easily modifiable backbend. Much of our day is spent pitched forward. Camel pose is a gentle backbend that allows the body to return to homeostasis and can improve posture.
In this pose, we come to our knees and lift our hearts to the Lord. The focus on opening across the front of the body can be intimidating and leave some feeling vulnerable. Slowly surrender yourself in this posture. Keep your breath long and intentional. Imagine offering your heart to your Redeemer.
Start from a kneeling position keeping your body upright and your hips stacked over knees. (A towel or blanket can be folded to comfort and placed under the knees for extra cushion.)
Come into the posture in layers beginning with your hands on your low ribs or high waist and begin to open your chest toward the ceiling.
Maintaining the position of your chest, step your hands down to your low back/sacrum.
Stay here if you are getting a good stretch. If you'd like to come deeper into the backbend, reach your hands back one at a time to grip your heels. This is a great time to use your blocks. Grip a block instead of your heel or tuck your toes to elevate your heel toward your hand.
Check-in with your hips - they should be pressed forward over your knees. If you notice you are not in alignment, gently come a half step out of the bend to your blocks or back to your sacrum.
When you've found your edge in this posture (the place in which you are in proper alignment with no joint pain), you may choose to lean your head back to open through your front neck/ throat space.
Release by bringing your chin toward your chest and hands to your hips. Firm your abs and support your lower back with your hands as you slowly bring your body to an upright kneeling position.
~ image of full camel pose with info on proper alignment ~
Safety & Precautions
You should not do Camel Pose if you have had an injury or chronic problem with your knees, shoulders, neck, or back. Don't force your body into the pose before it is flexible enough to do so without straining. Bend back only as far as you can naturally. With continued practice, you will gradually build your flexibility to achieve the pose.
use a blanket under the knees to protect them from grinding into the floor (a rolled up towel can also be used under the ankles for support)
use blocks on either side of your feet - they can be rotated to obtain the leverage you need
you can keep your hands on your low back if reaching back for your feet or using blocks isn't comfortable for you - your fingers should be pointed down and you will be squeezing your elbows towards each other
~ image of modified camel pose with info on proper alignment ~