I called this posture “Crazy Pose” long before I heard it had a name. Others (Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, etc.) call it “Wild Thing.” Both names hint at their unconventional nature.
Wild Thing can be a deceptively challenging posture to flex your back, for several reasons.
First of all, there are some ways to get there that make it much easier to find your way on the first try. If you try to fall from a tall dog, the first time is a little scary. Work on it, if you will, but not on the first try.
Second, if you, or your students, are stiff in the back, it will be a difficult posture to get into easily and all sorts of chaos can occur. The placement of the back foot is important, where you want to direct the hips is important and the attachment of the lower arm, side and back is important.
My classmate, Tania, finds this posture especially difficult to enter and exit gracefully. Once there, though, he loves it. Not coincidentally, it is a bit stiff in its bends. Once there, you can recruit all your strong muscles to keep the posture in place. It is only the transition in and out that is difficult.
So don’t just throw this at your novice students and let them find you. Demonstrate first, and then talk about each step, such as:
- From a one-legged hunter, drop your hips toward the carpet (high iron position).
- Find out where your raised foot will land. Choose a location close to the outside of the carpet. Too far will make you feel very uncomfortable.
- Turn to the outer edge of the weight-bearing foot.
- Land the floating foot by bending the knee and reaching the back space.
- Immediately strengthen the leg that supports weight and press your hips toward the center of the mat and up simultaneously.
- Make sure your weight-bearing arm and shoulder are not twisted in a strange way. Use your bibs to lift some of the weight off your shoulder by hooking them up and lifting your lower body.
- Create the back arch by lifting the heart, reaching the upper arm up and back, following it with your eyes.
- Only lower your back as far as it will be comfortable.
Ideally Wild Thing is a posture that can be best shared with students who have a solid foundation in yoga as well as body and breath control.
Here is a good article that offers some extra precautions about the importance of shoulder stability in this posture.
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