Awakening and loosening the spinal chord with various Yoga postures brings attention to the strength and/or weakness of the back. Often subconsciously, people sit, walk and stand in positions that are not conducive to health or appearance such as a “hunched back.” It takes “conscious awareness” and objectivity to appraise our posture and break long time negative habit patterns engrained in the anatomy.

“Camel Pose” is a great relief for spinal pressure and lengthening a “hunched back.” However, the first step in realization is an honest assessment standing in profile in front of a mirror. First, observe if your shoulders are in alignment with your ears. If not, pull the neck back to correct the alignment and avoid walking like a “pigeon” with neck protruding beyond the shoulders. Next, stand flat against a wall and observe if the shoulders and head are flat with no space against the wall. If it is difficult to stand erect, then it is time to change habitual standing, walking and sitting patterns. An honest self-assessment is important.

To initiate “Camel Pose.” Take a deep breath and kneel on the knees. Keep the thighs and feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed to the back, resting on the floor. Place palms on the hips and stretch the thighs forward. Slowly curve the spine back and extend the ribs forward. Exhale fully and place the right palm over the right heel and left palm over the left heel. If the back is unable to bend enough for the hand to reach the heel, grab any body part, such as the back of the thigh and gradually slide toward the heal. Keep the neck in line with the spine when bend backwards. Also, contract the buttocks, lengthen the coccyx (the lower region of the spine) and remain in “Camel” for one minute. Release each the hand one-by-one and rest them on the hips. Sit tall on the floor and relax.

This posture lengthens the entire spine and tones the back. Take your time in practicing “Camel” and be kind and reinforcing for every effort.