Wild Thing Pose
Camatkarasana: Rediscover your sense of excitement
By Alice Neiley
August 15th, 2011
Last night, the moon, almost full, lit up the Bradford Street just enough to be able to see everything that might obstruct my path. I let go of the handlebars and sang the Guns&Roses’ “Patience” to myself while coasting the smooth road. Close to midnight, the road was empty with cool, dry air, my favorite kind for breathing.
Sometimes, speeding down a hill with my arms out wide, feels more like yoga than any textbook pose. My favorite Vermont teacher, Emily Garrett, calls this "finding your yoga”. It's just as important to notice how you find peace “off the mat” as in your practice on the mat, she says. Yoga and daily life aren't separate, but connected, like a tree's intertwined roots.
Yoga and daily life aren't separate, but connected, like a tree's intertwined roots.
When the physical practice of yoga becomes more regular, every day experiences can unexpectedly mirror the spaciousness, calm, and energy that asana poses are designed to cultivate. On the flip side of that coin, we are drawn back into a sense-memory of breathing deep on late night bike rides.
Particularly during Carnival week, all of us could use a pose that balances calm and excitement; a way to crawl out of exhaustion and find an energy plateau to carry us through Labor Day. Wild Thing (Camatkarasana), lifts any stuck energy from the core of the body up into the chest and out into the extremities, reducing fatigue and depression. The pose opens up the legs, hip flexors, chest, shoulders, and lungs, while building strength in the upper back and shoulders. Here's how Wild Thing works:
1. Start in Downward-Facing-Dog. Inhale here, exhale all the air out, naval to the spine.
2. Shift your weight into your right hand and transition on to the outer edge of your right foot as if you were doing side plank pose (if you're not familiar with side plank, don't worry, just transition onto the outer edge of your right foot anyway!)
3. Inhale here, exhale all the air out. Inhale and make a clawing shape with your right fingers to strengthen the wrist and avoid injury. Exhale, draw the shoulders down and back. Inhale, lift the left leg, rotate open into a backbend, and place the left foot back on the ground with the left leg partially bent.
4. Inhale, extend your left arm with strength, energy in the fingers. Exhale here, inhale again, 5-10 times, filling the lungs, allowing energy to spread through your body with gusto!