Wild thing, known as camatkarasana in Sanskrit, is a playful backbending pose that teases the heart open while improving flexibility in the spine and strength in the shoulders and arms. The pose is energizing, fun, and accessible to practitioners with varying levels of flexibility and skill.
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Wild thing strengthens the erector spinae, improving the flexibility, strength, and alignment of the spine for better posture and reduced back pain. The pose, in particular, opens the chest and shoulders to correct hunching shoulders. The leg and arm muscles hold the body’s weight in the pose. Wild thing strengthens the quadriceps and hamstrings in the legs. In the arms, it strengthens the triceps.
Mentally, wild thing can be a challenging posture because it involves dropping back into an inversion (see step five; above). In general, all inversions challenge practitioners to trust their bodies and let go, mentally as well as physically. While the pose is energizing, fun, and accessible to practitioners with varying levels of flexibility and skill, building mental flexibility to drop into the pose can be as challenging as building physical flexibility once you’re in the pose.
Do not attempt wild thing if you:
- have weak wrists
- have a weak back
- have a torn rotator cuff
- have carpal tunnel
- are ill
- are pregnant
- are on your period
Always follow a backbend with a forward fold. A forward folding counter pose stretches the back, gluteal, abdominal, and hamstring muscles to prevent future strain. A seated forward fold, like prostration pose (naman pranamasana) or seated forward bend (paschimottanasana), is the perfect counterpose for wild thing.
For a challenging transition that deepens the backbend, transition directly from step nine (next page) of wild thing into wheel pose (urdhva dhanurasana). Definitely follow this intense back bending combination with a forward fold.