I should be committed to some type of institution. Everywhere I go I see bad yoga poses in advertising much like the kid in The Sixth Sense who said “I see dead people.” So to cope better with my constant “hallucinations,” I have taken it upon myself to “correct” the horrible postures I see in commercialized yoga. The pose I will focus on for this post is Ustrasana, camel pose.
I ran across this at Target. Her Ustrasana isn’t as horrendous as the ones below, but it could use some work. If I were to give her instructions I would say “bring your hips back and place your palms on your feet while maintaining the hips over the knees.” What is nice about her pants is you can see the stripe is not completely vertical, giving away her shortcomings in the pose. She would also benefit from pressing her shoulder blades up more so her flexible lower back doesn’t do all the work. I would also have her point her fingers back toward the feet and move her thumb in in the same direction of the other fingers (instead of grabbing) as her grip in the picture closes the shoulders.
Our next specimen is lifted from the Lululemon Facebook page. The base of her pose is not much of a base at all with her toes tucked under exposing a big gap between the floor and her shins. Classic Ustrasana has a firm base from the knee to the toes like a blade. She is compensating for her lack of flexibility to touch the feet by tucking her toes under to lift her heels. If I were her teacher, I’d make her start over with the feet pointed backwards so she has that “blade” base. I would also give her a bolster on the shins to give her the height she needs (that wouldn’t sell as many overpriced yoga pants, however). Lastly, I’d tell her to press her hips more forward to keep them over the knees
The second problem with her pose is her shoulders. Notice the hands are pointed forward. Try that on your own if you want to feel your neck cruntch. The instruction would be rotate your wrists so the fingers are pointed back so the upper arms can externally rotate to spread and lift the chest. Love the $100 pants though.
I saved the best for last from our friends at Yoga Journal. Aside from being a pose filled with ego by posing at the camera, she is putting her shoulders at risk by going backwards asymmetrically. Practice this way for a few years and you will be seeing your chiropractor more often than you see your dentist. The obvious instruction would be to get out of the pose and start over by keeping hands on the hips and lifting the spine up and over, then reaching for the feet which she is capable of doing.
To give you my point of reference, here is Guruji’s Ustrasana:
Have a great weekend!