Ustrasana is a deep backward bend from a kneeling position; the completed pose has the hands on the heels. The backs of the feet may be flat on the floor, or the toes may be tucked under for a slightly less strong backbend.
The name Ardha Ustrasana, Half Camel pose, is given to two different poses. One has the hands on the hips; the other has one hand on the heel on the same side, as in the full pose, and the other arm stretched back over the head.
The pose can be modified by providing supports such as yoga bricks beside the calves for the hands.
Twentieth century advocates of some schools of yoga, such as B. K. S. Iyengar, made claims for the effects of yoga on specific organs, without adducing any evidence.
Iyengar claimed that this pose would benefit "drooping shoulders and hunched backs". He claimed that the "whole spine is stretched and toned".