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Picture of Wild Thing Pose

 

Camatkarasana: Wild Thing Pose


A joyful yoga pose, Camatkarasana, often called Wild Thing or “Flip Dog”, is a fun way to open the chest and shoulders while improving balance. Part backbend, part arm balance, Wild Thing takes some practice but is accessible for beginning students. A great way to build strength and confidence, practicing Wild Thing can even help combat mild depression and fatigue by energizing and enlivening the mind, body, and spirit.

Philosophy + Origin

Many translations of “Camatkarasana” can be found, but the most popular 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, the heart chakra, practicing this pose is said to bring feelings of love, peace, acceptance, and confidence. By leading with your heart, you live fearlessly and without restraint.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Until you feel ready to flip, practice Downward Facing Dog with one leg lifted and the knee bent to open the hip and to get familiar with the shift in weight.
  • There are several different hand positions for this posture, including place your hand over your heart as well as extending your arm over your head with your hand in Gyan Mudra

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Shoulder pain or injury
  • Back or spine injury

TIPS:

If entering the pose from Downward Facing Dog feels challenging, you can get into Camatkarasana from Side Plank. In Side Plank, simply 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. Some find the entry from Side Plank a bit easier, so it’s a great option for beginners.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. From Downward Facing Dog, shift your weight to your right hand and your right foot. Begin to roll your weight to the outer edge of the right foot as you use an inhale to lift your hips up. Use your right hand to push into the mat while keeping the arm bone of your right arm back for shoulder stability.
  2. As you exhale, place your left foot behind you. Place toes on the ground and keep your knee bent. Lift the chest by drawing your shoulder blades into the back of your rib cage. Continue to use the breath to guide you deeper into the pose, allowing your inhalations to guide your hips up.
  3. For better balance, press firmly into the ball of your right foot at the base of your big toe. If it’s comfortable for your neck, drop your head and extend through your left arm all the way out through your fingertips.
  4. Stay for up to 10 breaths before returning to Downward Facing Dog. Practice on the other side when you’re ready.

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PREPARATORY POSES:

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Supta Virasana
  • Vasisthasana
  • Virasana

FOLLOW-UP POSES:

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Balasana

SANSKRIT:

  • Camatkara = surprise, miracle
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches chest, shoulders and throat
  • Opens the hips and hip flexors
  • Stretches and strengthens the back

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Energizes body and mind
  • Opens and stimulates the heart center
  • Promotes fearlessness
  • Relieves mild depression and fatigue
  • Cultivates feelings of universal love and acceptance

MANTRA:

“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu Mantra”

This powerful invocational mantra translates to “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

MUDRA: Anjali Mudra

A common mudra for showing gratitude, practice Anjali Mudra by bringing the palms of your hands together at your heart center. Through gratitude, you become fearless, joyful, and accepting.

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