camel terror

I’ve been attending Bikram yoga classes now for a week and, much to my surprise, really enjoying them. I am fascinated with all the emotion churning up and know from experience that some of this happens with each yoga pose when fully engaged. However, the intensity is, well, intense.

Most of it is palatable and not undiscovered territory. However, the abject fear I feel in camel is suprising to me. Because of it I back off a bit, focus on my breath. Today in class, the teacher mentioned that this is normal. Now, for me at least, it’s not a situational fear: I’m not afraid of falling back or anything. It’s primal, abject, ontological, objectless terror. I feel like I’m in a horror movie when I come up & look in the mirror.

I surmise this has something to do with third chakra opening. The third chakra, where we process raw materials and the focus is on getting our needs met. Perhaps even the integration of the first three. But I haven’t found anywhere where anyone’s written about this emotion specifically with this asana.

Teacher also mentioned that some of its effects come from the compression of the kidneys and adrenals. This could have something to do with it. But again, nothing found in references.

Does anyone else have this experience? Has anyone dissolved this experience – by that I mean, did you used to have it and now experience something else (maybe even bliss?) in camel?

Just wondering. I guess the universality, while intriguing, is practically meaningless. The point, really, is to be present with what arises and remain clear enough to notice that it changes. But I’m still curious…. leave me a comment about your camel experience, please:)

6 comments
  1. yogavita said:

    Ahh, Camel. I used to practice and teach Bikram yoga, and in my experience, Camel is emotionally intense for just about everyone!

    For me, my emotions would come up as physical nausea or even vague, non-directed feelings of anger. Eventually, those feelings faded, and instead Camel often gave me giddy feelings of an earthly kind of bliss. Interesting posture, indeed!

    I’m fairly convinced that at least some of the effects of Camel come from its stimulation/compression of the adrenals, which seems to release some cortisol into the bloodstream. Part of it probably also has to do with the emotional tension most of us store within the muscles of our chests.

    Good topic. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. yogaguide said:

    Thank you, yogavita! I began really playing with camel at home yesterday and discovered a lot of change in the emotion. I love the way yoga integrates on a very visceral level!

  3. lily said:

    I just started bikram yoga classes and last week I had one day where coming out of camel I felt like crying, and the next day, I almost giggled. I like it 🙂

  4. candacelopez said:

    I’ve only done bikram 5 times and have cried during the camel pose three of them. I was wondering if anyone else had this time of scenerio.

  5. Jodi said:

    I’ve had a similar effect, but never during camel; for me, it comes along at the end of practice during corpse or child’s pose. It seems that the more involved I am in the practice, the more likely I am to cry. The one very intense heated class I participated in had me nearly sobbing. It definitely felt like a release to me, though, instead of fear.

  6. helen said:

    Camel has brought pure terror to me. After several years (seriously, years) of managing this pose with props, letting my hands eventually rest without these props brought about a bliss too intense for words. Ultimate release. Like many have already stated; this pose shows the ability to store, and the potential for release.

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