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.
Malasana: Squat Pose or Garland Pose
A great stretch for ankles and the lower back, Malasana (mahl-AH-sana), which is also referred to as Squat or Garland pose, opens the groin and tones the belly. While comfortable for some, Malasana can be difficult for others. Appropriate adjustments and modifications can help students enjoy the benefits of this posture while strengthening and opening the muscles needed to practice Malasana and other postures.
Philosophy + Origin
There are many beautiful attempts to defend the translation of Malasana as “Garland Pose.” While mala most commonly refers to a garland or rosary, many students have a difficult time understanding how this imagery applies to the pose. Some teachers argue that the shape of the body depicts the bead on a mala, or perhaps the arms look like a mala or garland hanging from the neck. Other teachers will use the story of how this posture is traditionally taken when receiving the gift of a garland from a spiritual teacher. While all very poetic, there’s another lesser-known understanding of Malasana that makes more sense. The word mala can also be translated as excrement. Considering the digestive benefits of this posture, it makes a lot more sense.