This month, we’re featuring Camatkarasana. You’ve probably heard of this little beauty by one of its nicknames: Wild Thing, Flipping Your Dog, or Flipped Dog. I’ll refer to this yoga pose as Wild Thing for the sake of consistency throughout this post.
Wild Thing is one of those yoga poses where you get to have a little fun, crack a smile, and truly feel the strength and power of your body, while simultaneously adding an element of dance into your practice. While it’s an intermediate-to-advanced pose, it’s one that most of you will be able to work into with practice.
Make sure to warm up your chest, shoulders, upper back and spine before attempting Wild Thing. Play around in table pose, doing several rounds of Cat and Cow. I also recommend several Sun Salutations to help warm up your body.
Once you have some heat in your hips and shoulders, take the plunge and flip away!
Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Lift your right leg high into the air, before opening your hips – reaching your knee high to the sky while trying to touch your butt with your heel.
From here, simply open your hip farther and farther until you’re able to drop your right foot to the ground. Your chest should shine open toward the sky as you lift your right arm up, reaching your fingers toward the top of your mat. Hold for several breaths before returning to Downward-Facing Dog.
Begin in Plank position. Rotate into Side Plank, with your left hand on the ground and your right foot stacked upon the left.
Slowly bend your right leg, setting it on the ground behind you with your legs hip-width apart. Reach your right arm overhead, again stretching your fingers toward the top of your mat.
From here, lift your pelvis and chest upward, letting your head and neck relax. Hold for several rounds of breath before exiting into Downward-Facing Dog.
Wild Thing requires you to focus on establishing stability in your shoulder girdle. You must hug the muscular energy of your bottom hip and spine inward, while radiating energy out through your chest and raised arm.
If you have ever experienced shoulder injuries, you may want to avoid this pose. Other injuries to watch out for are a hurt rotator cuff or carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s completely acceptable to skip this pose, as it’s always offered as an optional extension from Downward Dog or Side Plank. It’s more important to honor and respect your body’s limitations. While some poses, like Wild Thing, are fun for certain yogis, you need to respect your past injuries and do what’s right for you.
As this is an optional pose in yoga practices, there aren’t any true modifications. If it doesn’t feel right for your body, skip it and hang out where you’re at. However, if you’ve simply never tried it, flag your instructor over for guidance while you experiment!
If you have a rigorous back-bending practice, it’s possible to transition from Wild Thing all the way to a Full Wheel. To do this variation, you’ll need to reach your upper arm all the way to the floor, with your fingers pointed toward your feet. If you can do this, lift the hand that was already on the ground and flip it, too, so your fingers point toward your feet. Once both hands are properly aligned on the ground, you’re there!
If you have healthy shoulders and a strong, supple spine, I challenge each of you to bravely Flip Your Dog this month. When you hear your instructor call the cue, bravely take the plunge, radiating your heart to the sky and soaking in the goodness of your body’s power!