“All good things are wild and free.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Time passes quickly. It’s in moments like these that we realize it was weeks ago when summer took its final bow, the trees are now nearly naked, and (gasp!) winter is not far around the corner. But that shouldn’t mean that our practice be banished indoors just yet.
A regular yoga practice can help us to sustain that feeling – that breath of fresh air when spring comes – all year round. Connecting to the breath while opening up our bones, muscles and hearts lays the groundwork that allows us to unleash something special – whatever that might be.
Wild Thing, or Camatkarasana, is a powerful backbending, heart-opening pose to help us do just that.
1. Start in side plank, or come to side plank from downward dog.
|2. Breathing in, expand and lift the hips. Breathing out, gently reach and place the left foot on the mat, knee slightly bent.|
|3. Still breathing, think of a long spine while tucking the shoulder blades into the ribcage. Reach the left arm back as you drop the head. With a solid left foot, lift the hips higher toward a full backbend and expression.|
Stay in the pose for 5-10 breaths. Come out by slowly coming back to side plank, then lowering to the floor. Repeat on the other side.
As a more advanced posture, coming into Wild Thing can be challenging. While we often want to simply stretch out and do what feels good (this is welcome at other times!), ensuring that the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders are all aligned is especially important here.
Deep backbends and heart openers can be emotional, and this pose is no different. It is an intense opening of the shoulders, legs, spine and heart. Building to the Wild Thing gives new meaning to ‘long spine’ – and is just the thing to get that breath of fresh air.
“The reason why I really like it is that it really shows off other sequences and other poses – the benefits of them – all in one posture,” explains local yoga instructor Janna Barkman.
“Another benefit too is that it’s so fluid – you’re never done moving in it. So even though you’re holding it, you’re still moving, you’re still trying to elongate your spine and reach out.”
Taking it Outdoors
Barkman is the instructor of a new yoga and fitness program this fall at FortWhyte Alive. The program was inspired by many of Barkman’s recent experiences, including attending this year’s Prairie Love Festival.
“Seeing how people thrived while they were here and just loved the space – I had never seen the space used like that before.”
Participants can expect a unique mix of cardio exercises and therapeutic yoga practice – all in the great outdoors. Whether it’s working up a sweat amongst the trees or practicing waterside, this is one last opportunity to breathe in that sweet, fresh air and enjoy a moment of solitude on the floating docks.
“When you’re out here, you don’t have to try hard to get into that meditation, you just do.”
Wild Thing runs every Saturday 10:00-11:30am until November 15, at FortWhyte Alive. Call (204) 989-8355 to register or for more information.