Here’s how to safely enter Wild Thing pose (or “flip your dog”). 🙂
Wild Thing Pose (Camatkarasana) – also known as “Flip Dog,” can be a beautiful, fun, and challenging yoga pose. Please keep in mind that this is an advanced yoga pose, and when not practiced properly, injury to the delicate shoulder joints can result. In order to properly and safely perform this pose, you will need to make sure your core muscles, spine, shoulder, and hip joints are properly warmed up and activated. When done properly, Wild Thing is “an expansive heart-opening posture that radiates Radical Joy!”
Ready to “flip your dog?”
The 9-step sequence below from yoga instructor Jennilee Toner at EkhartYoga.com will help you safely enter this unique and wonderful advanced yoga pose (and don’t worry – it’s not as scary as it sounds! Once you have read through the instructions below, feel free to practice with this video.):
1.) Warm up
After you center your body and mind on your breath, begin to warm-up the chest, shoulders, upper back and spine in both seated and tabletop postures.
2.) Get your shoulders stable
n seated, table top and Downward Facing Dog postures, wake-up and activate your Perfect Chaturanga muscles (lower trapezius, serratus anterior, infraspinatus and latissimus dorsi) for shoulder joint stability for later Side Plank variations.
3.) Strengthen the back, release the front
Strengthen the muscles of the back body (erector spinae, back extensors, posterior deltoids and triceps) and stretch out the front body (rectus abdomonis, pectorals, anterior deltoids and biceps) with low center of gravity postures such as Sphinx, Cobra, Locust, Half Bow (Danurasana) and Bow.
4.) All over strength and heat
Sun Salutations will continue to stretch and strengthen the spine, the entire front and back bodies, shoulder and hip girdles (psoas, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, deep external rotators, hamstrings and quadriceps).
5.) Practice the actions in Side Plank
Side Planks (from easy variations to increasingly more challenging) will further prepare the shoulder girdle and side body for Wild Thing. Make sure to integrate the humerus bone in the socket and shift your heels back in Plank before transitioning into Side Plank. (Read these tips for Side Plank.) Continue to scoop the lower shoulder blade under the ribcage (serratus anterior) for support in Side Plank variations and allow for any chest opening variations to come from the top shoulder blade, arm and chest area. Essentially there’s no movement from the bottom shoulder joint which is quite stable in its foundation.
6.) Get into your arc
Add in Scorpion Tail variations of Downward Facing Dog (with a bent raised leg and open hip) to continue to free your obliques, psoas and quadriceps of tightness and tension. Then transition to standing hip openers such as Warrior 2, Side Angle Pose, Half Moon Pose, Bound Half Moon (Sugarcane) and Dancers Pose.
7.) Start low – Side Plank to Wild Thing
Make sure to practice at least one Wild Thing from Side Plank (on both sides) before tilting slowly from your Scorpion One-Legged Downward Facing Dog to Wild Thing. I suggest a 5-count transition before your toes touch down in Wild Thing. Remember – the bottom shoulder joint is the foundation. It’s the top shoulder that does most of the opening, expanding and expressing!
8.) Feel the joy!
Once you safely transition into Wild Thing, pause, breathe and feel the freedom and possibly the ‘Radical Joy’ intended by the original practitioners of this beautiful posture!
9.) Transition back with the same care
To safely tilt your arc back from Wild Thing to your Scorpion Tail Downward Facing Dog, exhale all breath out, hug your muscles to your bones and draw your navel towards your spine, push through the bottom hand as you tilt your arc from the floor back into the air.
Get more tips and learn more about this unique yoga pose at EkhartYoga.com…