How to do the Camatkarasana Pose
- Begin in downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana). Root firmly through your left hand and foot.
- Inhale. Raise your right leg into the air. At first, keep your leg straight and your hips parallel to one another for down dog split.
- Exhale. Stack your hips, right on top of the left. Send your left hip up towards the sky, with the right stacked below it. Bend your right knee and let your right heel drop towards your buttocks.
- Make visual contact with your foot by looking under your left armpit. Take one or two breaths.
- Exhale. Drop your right toes toward the mat behind you, lifting your right arm off the mat as you twist.
- Turn your left foot inwards. Either turn onto the inner edge of your left foot or, if possible, plant the sole of your left foot on the mat completely. Keep your left leg straight. Press your hips upwards in a backbend. Stay on the toes of your right foot, pressing against the mat to lift your hips higher.
- Press the inside, bottom corners of your shoulder blades into your chest to open it. Open your right arm, straightening your elbow and reaching towards the mat behind you.
- Fix your gaze on the top of the mat.
- Breath and hold the pose.
- Inhale. Push off the mat gently with your right foot, lifting it back into the air. At the same time, swing your right arm around (with control), rotating your torso so that your chest faces towards the mat. Lower your right foot towards the mat.
- Come back into downwards facing dog. Repeat the pose on the opposite side.
Take the pose step by step. Instead of diving headfirst into the backbend (which can be scary, as it involves dropping into an inversion), take the pose step by step. First, focus on lifting each of your legs high in downward facing dog to build flexibility in the groin. Then, focus on stacking the hips, without dropping back into wild thing yoga pose. Completing only steps one through four (above) is perfectly acceptable.
Quadricep muscles. The quadriceps cover the front and sides of the femur, making up much of the muscle mass of the thighs. The quads stabilize and allow extension of the knee joint. In the base leg, wild thing builds strength in the rectus femoris quad muscle in the middle front of the thigh.
Hip flexors. The hip flexors are a large group of muscles located deep in the thighs, hips, and buttocks. They connect the leg, pelvis, and abdomen and allow you to lift your upper leg towards your body or bend your body over your upper leg. Sitting for long periods of time weakens the hip flexors, making it difficult to lift the upper legs and bend over. Wild thing stretches the iliopsoas and the psoas in the inner hip/groin area.
Gluteal muscles. The glutes include the three buttocks muscles: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. In wild thing, the gluteus maximus does much of the heavy lifting as you lift the hips. For optimal results, avoid clenching the buttocks as you lift up. The glutes should be firm in the pose, but not hard.
Erector spinae muscles. The erector spinae is a bundle of muscles and tendons in the back that control extension and rotation of the spine. Because they are responsible for straightening the back, the strength of the erector spinae muscles are closely linked with posture. Back bending poses, like wild thing, strengthen the erector spinae.
Abdominal muscles. The abdominals are located in the lower belly, between the ribs and the pelvis. They control the tilt of the pelvis and the curve of the lower spine. Wild thing works the rectus abdominus (your six pack) and the external obliques (in your sides) in particular. Strengthening the rectus abdominus and the erector spinae stabilizes the spine and improves posture.
Deltoid muscles. The deltoids form the rounded contour of the outer shoulders. They prevent dislocation of the arm during heavy lifting. Wild thing strengthens the deltoid muscles as you straighten your arms.
Trapezius muscles. The trapezius muscles extend from the back of the head down to the shoulder blades. They are partially responsible for the gross motor movements of the head and neck. When the shoulder blades roll together and down in wild thing, the trapezius muscles engage and strengthen.
Pectoral muscles. The pectoralis major and minor connect the front walls of the chest with the upper arms and shoulders. These muscles draw the arms towards the body. Wild thing lengthens the pecs. The further you drop your raised arm back, the more you stretch your pecs.
Tricep muscles. The triceps brachii are the large muscles on the backs of the upper arms that are responsible for straightening them. Push exercises, like planks and push-ups, build tricep bulk. Wild thing strengthens the triceps and the closely related anconeus muscles in the elbow joints.
Want to try a more advanced yoga move, check out the plow pose for beginners.
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