counterpose and camel pose

I love seeing what searches bring you here! Two of the searches yesterday really made me think:

“counter pose to warrior III” &

“why does camel pose in yoga store emotion”.

I have been looking for what others think about camel pose – or ustrasana – and emotion for a while (see my blog on “camel terror”). I haven’t found a lot of guidance, but here’s what I’ve decided: Ustrasana doesn’t store emotion, rather it releases emotion, particularly emotions we’re storing in our bellies and hearts. The third and fourth, and even the fifth chakras’ physical seats are opened and activated in ustrasana, as well as the front channel, or meridian, of the body. Anything we’ve squirrelled away there is stirred up when we lean back and expose those areas of our bodies the way we do in camel pose.

For me, I feel my third chakra, the solar plexis, most riled up by leaning back into this pose. I physically feel emotion at that location and then it spreads up and to a lesser extent down. I think that, like camels who store water, we store emotion along the body parts stretched in camel, and this position is a really juicy way to let go of what we don’t need.

The counter pose question is really good. A counter pose is a pose that’s meant to balance the effects of a preceeding pose, like fish for shoulderstand, or back for forward bends (or visa versa). Now, Vira III – or Warrior III – is a one sided balance pose, so by one way of looking at it, the opposite side is the counter pose.  Counter poses are usually used to neutralize effects on the spinal column, and in Vira III the Spine is long and neutrally aligned, so there is no need to neutralize.  I was unable to find any listed counterposes in the sources I consulted.

So, that’s all for this session of “ask the yoga instructor” 🙂 I love looking through the searches, but also feel free to email me with your questions or yoga concerns:

yogaguides (at) gmail (dot) com 

Yoga ON!!!

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3 thoughts on “counterpose and camel pose

  1. I’ve also have an intense experience in camel pose, I really love it. If I could just to add to what you’ve already said, I’ve come across an idea from outside of the yoga literature which I find relates to this question in a fascinating way. In the final chapter in the book, Study of Man, Rudolf Steiner describes the esoteric experience of the ‘limb man’. Try to imagine that our arms and legs are not growing out of our torsos but rather stuck into their joint sockets from the outside world, and are themselves only the visible tips of our true limbs which ray out into infinity and so are connected with the entire cosmos. Ok, so let’s further imagine that our physical arms and legs are like the upper and lower jaws of a giant invisible head! And when we raise our arms, it’s like the top teeth chomping down on our upper chest, and when push our legs back, it’s like the lower jaw chomping up on our pelvis. The experience is that we are constantly being consumed by this spiritual head whose jaws are our own limbs. And when we do a deep backbend, we are also thrusting our hearts forward to be devoured. At this, we can feel fear or anxiety at first, but in time we develop the mood of devoted sacrifice.

    This is kind of an esoteric imagination that I’ve just found interesting to play with. I know it sounds pretty strange. Just take it or leave it as you like.

  2. Pingback: The week of the Camel… will you join me? « meeting myself on the mat, every day, in search of love, truth & beauty…. will you join me?

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