The leaning camel exercise helps improve flexibility and enhanced balance. The importance of being flexible is evident to everyone, especially fitness enthusiasts, and this exercise serves as the benchmark for all the back stretches involving the spine that helps aid flexibility.
As recommended by top physiotherapists and fitness instructors, this exercise can be done with the ease of being at home as well. No additional equipment is required to unleash the flexibility of the spine. You can wave goodbye to all the back and lower back-related strains with just a mat and this guide.
How to Perform the Leaning Camel Exercise?
Step 1: Warm-up
Start by warming up your body with some light cardiovascular activity, such as jogging in place or brisk walking, for about 5-10 minutes. This helps increase blood flow to your muscles and prepares your body for this particular exercise.
Step 2: Starting position
- Stand on your yoga mat or a comfortable surface with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keep your spine tall and your shoulders relaxed.
Step 3: Hand placement
- Extend your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height.
- Palms should be facing down, fingers pointing forward.
Step 4: Inhale and lean back
- Take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, start to lean your upper body back slowly, maintaining the extension of your arms.
- Keep your core engaged to support your lower back.
Step 5: Arch your back
- Continue to lean back until you start to feel a gentle stretch in your chest, shoulders, and the front of your body.
- As you lean back, arch your upper back slightly, allowing your chest to open up.
Step 6: Maintain the pose
- Hold the stretched position for 15-30 seconds, breathing deeply and evenly.
- Focus on maintaining a comfortable stretch without overextending or straining.
Step 7: Return to starting position
- Inhale deeply.
- Slowly begin to return to the upright position by engaging your core muscles and using the strength of your back and shoulders.
- Keep your arms extended in front of you as you come back up.
Step 8: Repeat on the other side
- Release your arms and shake them out gently.
- Repeat the entire sequence on the other side, starting with your arms extended in front of you.
Step 9: Cool down
- After completing both sides, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a few deep breaths to relax and cool down your body.
How Does It Enhance Your Flexibility?
The primary advantage of the leaning camel exercise, also known as Ustrasana in yoga, lies in its ability to enhance spinal flexibility. By leaning back and gently arching the upper back, the posture encourages a gradual extension of the spine.
This action counteracts the common tendency of the spine to round forward due to prolonged sitting or poor posture. Regular practice of this exercise fosters the maintenance and improvement of the natural spinal curvature, thus ensuring increased flexibility in the vertebrae.
Breathing and Balance
Practicing the exercise involves a deliberate focus on breathing and being present at the moment. This cultivates an elevated sense of body awareness and mindfulness. Relaxation deepens and facilitates more profound stretching and an improved sense of flexibility.
The leaning camel exercise requires you to engage your core muscles to support your lower back as you lean back. This combination of stretching and strengthening helps you achieve a well-rounded balance that supports healthy movement and prevents injury.
Chest and Shoulder Flexibility
Extending your arms forward and leaning back leads to the opening of the chest. This stretching motion effectively targets the pectoral (chest) muscles and the front deltoids (shoulder) muscles.
By expanding the chest and shoulders, one can augment flexibility in these regions. This proves especially beneficial for individuals spending extended periods hunched over desks or computers.
Hip Flexor Stretch
As you execute the lean-back motion, the front of your hips experiences an opening, inducing a stretch in the hip flexor muscles. Prolonged sitting often tightens these muscles, causing discomfort and restricted movement.
Regularly performing the leaning camel exercise serves to lengthen and stretch these muscles, thereby enhancing hip flexibility and range of motion.