Ushtrasana Part II

Ushtrasana Part II–Coming out of the pose

Coming out of ushtrasana should be done slowly and with care.  One should imagine “rolling up” one vertebra at a time to a kneeling position.  Start by returning the palms of the hands to the sacral area.  This is achieved by flexing the elbows (concentric contraction—biceps, eccentric—triceps), supinating the elbows and hyperextending the wrists.  Place the hands so that the fingers are facing toward the floor.

Come up slowly, performing the following actions together—extending the neck, extending the spine (concentric–pectoralis, levator scapulae, rectus abdominus, rectus femoris, iliopsoas; eccentric–rhomboids, trapesius, erector spinae), internally rotate the shoulders to return them to neutral.  The glutes are already contracted here but will also work eccentrically to help extend the hips.  The arms are released by extending the elbows (eccentric—triceps, concentric—biceps), extending the wrists, and pronating the elbows back into neutral.    

Flexing the hips (concentric–rectus femoris, iliopsoas, rectus abdominus; eccentric–glutes, erector spinae, trapezius) will bring the body forward while flexing the shoulder joint (concentric-anterior deltoid; eccentric–posterior deltoid) into the counter pose, balasana.

Ushtrasana should be avoided by individuals with serious spine injury such as lumbago or herniated discs.  The pose can be modified as needed by keeping the hands on the hips (not fully dropping and grasping the ankles).