Yoga Tip: Ustrasana

Ustrasana, or camel pose, is a great way to open the heart, stretch the front body, and help anxiety. The first time I did it (in a Bikram class), I thought I might die- it's kind of a scary pose when you're new to it, but apparently that is a common reaction for people. So fear not, you will not die. Come out of it slowly and just breathe.

How to do it: Begin by kneeling on the floor, knees hip distance apart, thighs slightly rotated inward. Draw the sitting bones forward and up, firming the buttocks. Rest your hands on the mounds of your heels, fingers pointing behind you. Push the hips forward and feel a lift from the chest. Drop the head back if it feels right for you. Stay here for three or more breaths (up to 30 seconds). To come out, bring your hands to your hips and sit back on your calves, leading with your heart.

Tip: This pose can bring about an emotional release- I've talked to many people who have felt sad, angry or had full out laughing fits after this pose. If this happens to you, or doesn't happen to you, just let it be- everything is fine.

Beginners may not be able to touch their hands to their feet. If this happens, place your toes on the mat to raise the heels. If you're still not able to touch, use blocks.

*Do not do this pose if you have lower back or neck problems.

Benefits: Stretches the front body, ankles, thighs, hip flexors, groins, abs and throat. Improves posture, stimulates internal organs, and strengthens back muscles.