Camatkarasana Variation - TINT Yoga

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Camatkarasana Variation Mini Wild Thing

    Quick Facts

  • Sanskrit (Original): Camatkārāsana Variation
  • Etymology: Miracle, curiosity (camatkār); pose (āsana)
  • Fun Fact about the pose: Mini Wild Thing can be seen as the baby version of Wild Thing and is a great starting point to approach deeper backbends.
  • Asana Type: Backbend
  • Main length muscle groups: Psoas major, spinal extensors, top side: quadratus lumborum, latissimus dorsi, teres major, teres minor
  • Main strength muscle groups: Bottom arm: serratus anterior, deltoid, rotator cuff muscles, biceps brachii, muscles of the wrist and hand; bottom leg: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, muscles of the foot; abdominal muscles; spinal muscles
  • Vinyasa Breath: Inhale

How to Cue the Pose: Step By Step

  • 1 For the Camatkarasana Variation Mini Wild Thing, start in a seated position with one leg straight and the other one bent with the foot resting on the inside of the thigh. Let the knee fall to the outside and as close to the floor as possible.
  • 2 Place the hand of that bent knee side on the ground behind you.
  • 3 Outwardly rotate the hand on the ground, which will also outwardly rotate your arm.
  • 4 Bend the elbow slightly and lift your shoulder up towards your ear and then bring it back.
  • 5 Outwardly rotate your upper arm even more and straighten your arm.
  • 6 Lift your buttocks up to come into the pose, thereby keeping one leg straight and resting the knee and shin of the bent leg on the ground.
  • 7 Push the foot of your straight leg into the ground, like accelerating on a gas pedal so that you can lift your hip further up.
  • 8 Push the mat away with the hand that is on the floor. This will help you to lift up your shoulder.
  • 9 Lift your heart up and rotate your sternum further towards the sky.
  • 10 Straighten the top arm, i.e. on the extended leg side, and outwardly rotate the arm. Reach away with your fingertips.
  • 11 Keep the neck neutral and long, i.e. avoid overextending it or dropping it backward.
  • 12 To come out of Mini Wild Thing, let the buttocks sink down onto the mat again and return to a seated position

Working The Details: Alignment In The Pose

  • Distribute the bodyweight evenly: One of the most common mistakes in Mini Wild Thing is that there is too much weight on the bottom hand and almost no weight on the leg. To give your wrist a bit more release, distribute your body weight more evenly. Pushing the top of the foot and the shin of the bent leg actively into the floor can help you here.
  • Outwardly rotate the arm: If you inwardly rotate the hand that is on the floor, your arm will also rotate inwardly. Keeping it straight in addition to that, will significantly decrease the range of motion you have in your shoulder. So, to open your shoulders, outwardly rotate your weight-bearing hand so that the arm rotates along with it. This means that your fingers will not point forward, but rather to the side underneath your body.
  • Stabilize the shoulder: Before you come into Mini Wild Thing, it’s important to bring the shoulder of the weight-bearing side into proper alignment by moving the shoulder up and back. Bring the tips of the shoulder blades towards each other and lift your chest forward and up. This is very important to stabilize the shoulder and open up the chest.
  • Engage the back muscles: One thing that is often neglected in Mini Wild Thing is the engagement of the back muscles although they are very important to keep the spine aligned. In order to activate the muscles in your back, bring the lifted hand against the back of your head. Simultaneously, push your head against your hand and your hand against your head. You will instantly feel the engagement of your back muscles.

Adapting The Pose Through Modifications

Simplify

  • Some practitioners may not feel comfortable fully extending the top arm. In that case, keep the arm bent and place the hand against the back of the head. Bring the upper arm close to your face as this already creates an outward rotation of the upper arm. Gently push the head against the hand to gradually increase the stretch on the upper arm and shoulder (namely teres minor and teres major).
  • You can even fully neglect the extension of the top arm and place the hand on your lower back instead. This will also help you to further push up your hip while stabilizing the lumbar spine.
  • Since the bottom hand has to carry a lot of weight (even if you distribute your body weight evenly as described above), it may be helpful to release the wrist a little bit by placing a rolled-up towel underneath the wrist bone. This slight elevation decreases the flexion in the wrist and will feel less strenuous for most practitioners.

Level Up

  • It may be too obvious, but a great way to level up is the full version of the pose: Camatkarasana. In this case, the position of the legs is exactly the opposite. This means that the leg of the weight-bearing side is extended while the other leg remains bent and, in many cases, only the ball of the foot will rest on the floor.

Benefits of Camatkarasana Variation

  • As this pose is a backbending – i.e. front-opening – pose, it provides a nice stretch for the entire front side of the body, including the chest and shoulders as well as the hip.
  • It also strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and shoulders.
  • Due to the lateral bend and backbend, the core is engaged, making Mini Wild Thing a great pose to work on your core strength and, thus, improve your posture.
  • As an asymmetrical pose, this Camatkarasana Variation works differently on both sides of the body: it strengthens the bottom side and stretches the top side. In addition, the asymmetry of this pose increases your body intelligence as both sides of the body have to work differently.
  • As the chest, the spinal muscles, the psoas and the abdominal muscles are stretched, Mini Wild Thing benefits breathing and can increase the lung’s capacity.
  • Since this variation of Camatkarasana is more easily accessible also to beginning students, it can give them a glimpse of the invigorating and energizing effects of deeper backbends such as the full version of the pose. Therefore, it is a great pose to boost energy and confidence.

I love the playful little sister of Camatkarasana. It’s a great way to gradually guide my students towards the full pose.

Doreen

Content Manager at TINT | Passionate Yoga Teacher

FAQ: Common questions about this pose

Since Mini Wild Thing is a front-opening pose, which often are also referred to as heart opener, you want to lift your heart up as much as possible. This means that your sternum should rather face toward the sky, thus bringing your torso into more rotation.

Chances are that you neglected the stabilization of your shoulder. This often happens when students get too excited and want to get into the pose as quickly as possible. However, it is well worth taking some time to properly align the shoulder before lifting up the hips into the pose. So, when your buttocks are still on the floor, move the shoulder of the later weight-bearing side first up and then back (bending the elbow slightly will allow for more range of motion). Also actively push the hand into the mat as you lift up instead of letting your body collapse onto the shoulder joint.

This is something many practitioners experience, not only in Mini Wild Thing but in all poses where there is a significant amount of weight on the hands and wrists. One reason for this can be shortened forearm muscles and tight muscles in the hands since we’re not moving them so much in our everyday lives. Warming up the forearms, wrists and hands properly before attempting Mini Wild Thing can already help tremendously. Apart from that, avoid putting all the weight onto the bottom hand. Rather distribute your body weight evenly by actively pushing the knee into the ground as well as the foot of the extended leg. And last but not least, engage the back muscles properly as this will stabilize the entire body. As a result, you won’t sink into your bottom arm.

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