Yoga pose of the month: Wild Thing

By Natalia | 12th December 2015
A woman stretches and practises yoga in front of the shore as the sun sets.

As we’re now approaching the end of 2015, it’s a great time to reflect on what has passed, and look ahead and connect with what will allow us to transform and grow. Now might be the perfect time for you to reconnect with your dreams and find the courage to take that leap of faith once again. Today we will try to inspire you to take a leap of faith on your yoga mat and reconnect with the “wild thing” within!

Wild Thing, in Sanskrit known as Camatkarasana, is very vibrant, graceful pose, which should be approached with a sense of curiosity, joy and inner strength. … just breathe, trust, let go, awake that playfulness within and see what happens! We all have that little “wild thing” within, so let it out!

Benefits of Wild Thing Pose

  • Increases strength in your upper body

Wild Thing builds strength in the wrists, arms, shoulders and upper back.

  • Stretches your chest, shoulders and throat

The pose allows your chest to open and your heart to fly up a little bit higher. It’s a great pose to increase the energy flow in your heart chakra, giving you more peace, inner balance, love, empathy and compassion.

  • Opens your hips, hip flexors and the front of your legs

When practiced regularly Wild Thing can provide a good variation for those of us who work everyday at a desk job or if you have to spend a long time sitting. It can help to prevent lower back pain caused by tight hips.

  • Invigorates and helps to harness depression

This pose teaches you to let go, to expand, to be open and encourages you to feel yourself. It’s an exploration of the boundaries of your comfort zone. Wild Thing allows for your lungs to expand and helps to effect deeper breathing, which can lead to increased feelings of calmness and enable you to become more present.

How to get into the pose?

The easiest way to get into the pose is from Downward Facing Dog, which we described in depth in our previous article. From here move your body forward into Plank Pose, bringing your shoulders directly over your wrists. Keep your whole body in one line, engaging your core muscles and tucking the pelvis into neutral position. Do not allow your hips or lower back to sag. Next rotate into Side Plank by keeping your left hand down onto the floor, root into the outer edge of your left flexed foot and extend your right arm up to the sky. Slowly lift and bend your right leg, then release the ball of the right foot onto the ground behind you. The legs are hip distance apart. The left leg is extended and right one bent (see the photo). Reach up and overhead with your right arm and gaze toward your right fingers. Press your weight into the ball of your right foot and lift your pelvis upward, dropping the head and neck toward the back body. Allow your heart to fly up a little bit higher. Hold the pose for 5 deep and long Ujjayi breaths.

To exit the pose, turn the gaze back down and then slowly rotate your right shoulder and hip down toward the ground and place your right hand on the floor, coming back into Plank Pose. Repeat on the other side. Rest in Child´s Pose or Down Dog.

Alignment tips

  • Activate your arms and externally rotate them. Keep your shoulder stable.
  • Spread your collar bones and expand your heart centre.
  • Create a long line of energy, lengthening your spine.
  • Press into your left hand and foot to really lift your hips up.
  • Use your core strength while transitioning.

Tips for beginners

If you are new to yoga or if you don´t have enough arm strength to carry your body weight, it might be challenging for you to perform Wild Thing. Try this instead:

  • Half Wild Thing Pose.

The easiest way to get into the pose is from Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana Prep. So begin seated with extended legs, then spread them out to the sides, opening your hips. Bend your left knee and pull your left heel close to your groin. Keep the muscles of your right leg engaged, and make sure that right toes and kneecap look up. Place your hands on either side of your hips (fingers facing out) and press down, lengthening the spine up.
Shift your body weight on the left arm and press the right sole into the ground. Slowly lift your pelvis upward, dropping the head and neck toward the back body. Reach up and overhead with your right arm and gaze toward your right fingers.

If you feel uncomfortable or your joints are under pressure, check your alignment (see tips above).

What to watch out for when practicing Wild Thing?

  1. Lower back.
    If you feel any pain or experience a tingling sensation in your lower back while performing the pose, it’s a sign to readjust the pose or exit the pose. Wild Thing is quite a deep back bend and it might feel uncomfortable in your body. Learn to listen to your body, respect your body.
  2. Your wrists.
    If you have any wrists issues, hold the pose for a shorter period of time. But if it causes pain, skip it completely.
  3. Your shoulders.
    Camatkarasana might put lots of pressure on the shoulders. It´s very important to maintain a clear relationship between the head of arm bone and its socket on the shoulder blade. This will allow the body weight to pass easily from bone to bone without causing pain or injury. But if you still feel tension, then try to practice Half Wild Thing Pose or resign from practicing this asana until you have worked to open and strengthen your shoulders.

We always recommend learning poses with a qualified yoga teacher, who will check your alignment and make any adjustments to ensure you practice safely.

Have patience with learning Wild Thing Pose. Believe in yourself, check your limits and be patient.

Have a safe practice and amazing New Year!
Be wild 🙂

 

For more about yoga at La Crisalida Retreats, click here.

Headshot of Natalia - Health and Wellbeing Mentor at La Crisalida Retreats
Natalia

Natalia is a yoga teacher and explorer of life (and the world!).

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