The Heart-Opening Yoga Pose: “Wild Thing”

Mary Choplin demonstrates the side plank version of Wild Thing.


Wild Thing, or camatkarasana in sanskrit, is a challenging yoga pose that turns a downward facing dog into an expressive backbend. “Flipping your dog” opens up the chest and shoulders, the front of the legs and hip flexors, and builds strength in the shoulders and upper back. It’s the perfect counter pose to a day at a desk! Pumping up the adrenaline with a back-bendy Wild Thing can also be therapeutic for fatigue and mild depression. Click here for the MBS Yoga Class Schedule.


A staple of vinyasa or flow classes, Wild Thing invites an exploration of transitions both into and out of the pose. There’s no really direct entry into Wild Thing. It requires a degree of kinesthetic awareness and proprioception—knowing where your body is in space—to turn yourself upside down, spinning on one arm and one leg, and twisting a linear strength posture into a side body lengthening backbend.

Schedule Your Free 20-Minute Fitness Assessment with An MBS Personal Trainer

The Camatkarasana Yoga pose can be approached two ways: either from downward facing dog or side plank.


  1. Lift your right leg into three-legged dog, or down dog splits
  2. Bend the right knee and begin to flip your dog, dropping your right leg toward the floor behind you while your left foot pivots to allow your body to turn
  3. While in motion, lift your right arm off the ground as your chest spins toward the ceiling
  4. Once your right foot lands, you are in your Wild Thing!
  5. Lift your chest toward the sky and feel the expansion throughout your heart!

The side plank version looks and feels a little more like a back bendy side plank, but is equally liberating and expansive in the middle of a strong flow.

Click Here to Become A Member of our 24-Hour Gym and Recieve 10% Off  All Group Classes


  1. Lift your top leg, bend the knee toward the ceiling and drop the foot toward the floor behind you
  2. Simultaneously turn your chest toward the sky
  3. Your base foot and hand stay in side plank, while you’ve added an open twist and back bend to the top side!


MBS Heated Vinyasa Yoga Instructor Mary Choplin explains how doing this fun pose makes her feel:

“Wild thing literally makes my heart sing! The pulsating rhythm of my heart radiating throughout my body, gives me an overwhelming feeling of love. This invigorating heart opening posture breaks down the walls that shield my heart. It invites the freedom to feel my own tenderness and embrace my strength. This is a posture that makes my soul come alive.”

Catch Mary teaching Wild Thing on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 pm at our gorgeous studio in King William.

What are some of your favorite heart-opening Yoga poses? Share your tips, recommendations and questions below. We love to hear from you!

For more information about how MBS can help you achieve your fitness, mindfulness and overall wellness goals, click here.

yoga instructors
Lesley Ramsey


About the Author: Lesley Nicole Ramsey gets up before her chickens at least three days a week to teach 6am Yoga and Mind Body Soul Yoga Studio in King William. Getting up early gives her more time to grow vegetables, work on a memoir, and these days, watch lots and lots of Game of Thrones.