Camatkarasana: Wild Thing Pose
Camatkarasana (kam-at-ka-RAS-uh-nah) is a joyful pose to open the chest and shoulders while improving balance.
Philosophy + Origin
One translations of camatkarasana is “the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart.” This poetic image reflects the joy many experience when practicing this pose. Because of its ability to stimulate anahata (heart chakra), practicing this pose is said to bring feelings of love, peace, acceptance, and confidence. By leading with our hearts, we live fearlessly and without restraint.
- Practice downward facing dog with one leg lifted and the knee bent to open the hip. This can help the body get familiar with the shift in weight in preparation for the eventual flip to wild thing.
- Hand gestures: place your hand over your heart or extend your arm over your head with your hand in gyan mudra.
- Option to enter wild thing from side plank rather than down dog: bring your top leg behind you and then push into your bottom hand and arch the back. Once you’ve found the basic shape, the actions described below will be the same whether you enter from down dog or side plank.
- Begin in downward facing dog. Lift your right leg up and bend your knee, working toward stacking right hip over your left. Keep your core engaged.
- Shift your weight into your left hand.
- Roll to the pinky toe side of your grounded (left) leg.
- At the same time:
- Gently lower your right foot toward the ground behind you.
- Slowly lift your right hand off the ground and bring it to your heart center (middle of the chest).
- When the ball mound of your right foot connects to the ground, press down to lift your hips and chest toward the ceiling. The right knee stays bent while the left leg is extended.
- Press down into the knuckles of your grounded hand and draw your shoulder blades toward each other and away from your ears.
- Option to take your gaze in the opposite direction of your extended leg.
- To release, option to lower hips to the ground or unwind back to downward facing dog. Pause for a few breaths then repeat on the other side.
- Camatkara = surprise, miracle
- Asana = pose
- Stretches chest, shoulders and throat.
- Opens the hips and hip flexors.
- Stretches and strengthens the back.
- Energizes body and mind.
- Opens and stimulates the heart center (anahata).
- Cultivates feelings of universal love and acceptance.
Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose
Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-ah-nah) honors the great leap made by Hanuman, the famous monkey god from the Ramayana, across the ocean from India to the mountains of Sri Lanka. Front splits pose demands flexibility, strength, and stability.
Philosophy + Origin
More than just an incredible leap, Hanuman is remembered, celebrated, and worshiped because of his great devotion and courage. To be devoted, one must be bold enough to stand firmly in their beliefs, selflessly serving others and putting others’ needs above their own.
Because of its physical demands, it’s easy to get caught up in “achieving” the outward appearance of the posture. As such, it’s important to keep your ego in check as you dedicate yourself to the posture. Above all, invite kindness and selflessness to flow freely from the posture. As you practice, ask yourself how you can embody Hanuman’s devotion both in your physical yoga practice and your everyday life.