I remember the thrill of landing at the airport in Jaipur many many years ago. It had been a long air trip of almost a day. When I stepped out of the plane in the middle of the night, the heavenly perfumed smell of Raat Ki Raani greeted me. I was enraptured because I could not see any greenery that far out on the tarmac, yet the night air was permeated with it. Then, I had yet another journey by road before reaching the Rambagh Palace. This was along Highway 8. I had to rub my eyes because I couldn’t believe them. There, along the main highway were camels, lumbering along the highway in between the autos. It was like I was in a dream. I counted 52 camels between the airport and the Rambagh. I was in heaven! Camels offer us a metaphor for managing difficult times and stress. The old adage of "count to ten" when feeling angry becomes much more meaningful when we count camels, those wonderful creatures symbolizing humility and obstinacy at the same time. They are also incredibly powerful. Referred to as the "ships of the desert", they are able to go without water for up to two weeks, storing the water in their backs, and inspiring the Hatha Yoga pose known as the Camel or Ustrasana, which is good for digestion and making the spine supple and strong. It’s what you need sometimes at work. A strong backbone, patience, and the ability to make it through the deserts of discontent. You may not be able to get on the floor to do a Camel Pose, but we can modify one, which may just be able to see you through any long ‘highway’ that doesn’t seem to have a tunnel with a light at the end.
Office Camel Pose: Slide yourself to the front of your chair so that you can fit your arms behind you, elbows bent so that you can grasp them. If this is too difficult, loosely clasp your wrists. Make sure that your arms are placed right behind your waist for support. Take a deep breath as you stretch your head upwards to look at the ceiling; arch your back as much as comfort allows. Exhale and relax. 2-3 times is all that is needed and you’ll find that your spine will give way, become more flexible allowing you to actually face the ceiling. Don’t forget to count those camels–about 5 for each repetition and remember to breathe in the Raat Ki Raani. Yoga Works!