Ekapada Ustrasana (One-legged Camel Pose)
How to do it
Begin standing on your knees with your right foot on the floor in front of you, your foot slightly in front of your ankle.
Inhale: Bend your right knee while raising your left arm up. Make sure that your right knee doesn’t go past the toes.
Exhale: Progressively contract your abdomen and return back to the starting position, lower your arm.
Repeat this movement several times and then stay in the pose.
Breathing in Ekapada Ustrasana
Inhale: Lift your chest forward and up, away from your hips while keeping the lower part of the abdomen engaged.
Exhale: Reengage your abdomen from the bottom to the top, keeping your lower body stable and grounded. Firmly press your front foot into the ground to keep your front thigh and hip actively engaged.
Continue to breathe like that, emphasizing the length of the spine on the inhale and abdominal support on the exhale.
TRICK. Avoid “hanging” on your front hip. Pressing your front foot down will help keep your hip and thigh engaged and lifted.
Ekapada Ustrasana: Both arms adds a balancing element to the pose. Here you need to work on keeping your lower body stable and control the position of your front knee as you work on stretching the front of your torso and thigh.
Knee press out
Ekapada Ustrasana: Knee press out works great for engaging the outer hip. Be sure to keep your front knee over the ankle at all times as you press your front knee and hand on the same side into each other. This type of passive resistance is great for building hip strength, especially in hip abductors. You will also need to keep an eye on the position of your pelvis to make sure that it continues to face forward.
Stages of foot hold
Ekapada Ustrasana: Stages of foot hold shows you the progression of intensity in this pose. Those types of progressions do not happen within the space of one class, they take time. Some students never make it to the extreme close-frame version of the pose because of their unique anatomical structure or health challenges. It is not our goal to reach the most challenging version of the pose, but rather to experience the benefits of the pose safely.
Ekapada Ustrasana: Wall assist uses the leverage of the wall or a piece of furniture to achieve deeper stretch in the thigh and the hip flexors. We have to be very careful with our knees in this version and provide enough padding for the knees to be comfortable. Students with sensitive knees will need to skip this version.
Kneeling Parsvottanasana Combo
Ekapada Ustrasana + Kneeling Parsvottansana is a great combination for strengthening the posterior structures of the body (lower back, upper back, glutes, hamstrings and calves) and then stretching them. Make sure that your knees have enough padding in this pose.