Wild Thing Pose (Camatkarasana)

Wild Thing yoga pose

Photo Credit: Elsie Escobar

Pronunciation: cah-maht-kah-RAHS-anna
Alternate Names: Flip Dog
Pose Type: Back Bend

Camatkarasana pose, also known as “wild thing”, is an enormous help with heart-opening. This pose is also referred to as “flipping the dog” and you’ll see why later. It is a fun, playful transition usually from downward-facing dog into a one-arm backbend.

The pose is inspirational in that it comes from a place that’s unwilling to be tamed or to conform. Like its name, Wild Thing is an expression of freedom, creativity, authenticity, and purpose. Beneath the pose’s rapturous movement is a strong, stable base that relies on both arms for lift and balance.

Pose Sequence

The Camatkarasana yoga sequence is a great way to prepare your arms to support the full weight of your body while opening the front of your legs, hips, and torso. It encourages heat to build in your chest and the heart to melt.

You can begin this pose from downward facing dog or from side plank. We’ll describe it from downward-facing dog keeping the right arm and foot firmly grounded on the mat throughout the movement:

  1. Starting from down dog, lift the left leg high into the air coming into a down dog split.
  2. Begin to rotate the body and open the left hip toward the ceiling while bending the left knee.
  3. Continue opening the left side and pivot on the ball of the grounded right foot (similar to positioning for a back bend).
  4. As the left hip flips toward the ceiling, the left arm reaches high and overhead and the heart reaches toward the ceiling.
  5. The left foot comes to the floor, slightly outside and forward of the right foot.

Releasing from the pose is done by reversing the movement, bringing the left leg up and over the body, flipping back into a downward dog. As you practice this pose, you can almost taste the delicious lightness and freedom of childhood play.

Benefits of Wild Thing Pose

The benefits of this pose include:

  • Chest opening and heat building around the heart
  • Stretch for the lungs, throat, and shoulders
  • Opening the front of the legs, including hips and hip flexors
  • Builds strength in the upper arms and shoulders
  • Stretches and strengthening the back

Camatkarasana improves spinal flexibility while strengthening the arms.

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By Virginia O'Connor

Co-founder of AudibleYoga.com and writer/content manager.