The Wild Thing Pose in yoga works on strength, flexibility and balance. It’s a challenging posture due to the requirement to balance on one arm, open the chest, and transition by flipping over from Downward Facing Dog.
Since the Wild Thing Pose is often used a transition in a vinyasa flow class it can leave you feeling confused as to how to approach the posture and build the required strength and flexibility around the shoulders.
In this blog we’ll explore a progressive vinyasa yoga sequence to help you learn and develop the Wild Thing Pose with variations for beginners.
Practice along with my yoga sequence building up to the Wild Thing Pose.
Wild Thing Yoga Pose Sequence
The following yoga sequence can be used to warm up and prepare your body to practice the Wild Thing Pose. Since the posture is quite advanced you can start as a beginner with the first few postures and variations of the Wild Thing Pose. Once these feel more accessible and comfortable you can try attempting the full posture.
Shoulder Opener Warm Up
Start by sitting in a crossed legged position and bring your right hand to the back of your head and left hand on the ground. And then on the exhale you can drop your right elbow down and round the spine. On the inhale to lift the right elbow back up, opening your right shoulder and arching your spine a little.
Repeat this dynamically on one side a few times to warm up your shoulder and get mobility in your spine. And then switch to the other side, with your left hand behind your head and right hand on the ground. Repeating again dynamically a few times and linking the movement with your breath.
Supported Side Plank
Begin on your hands and knees. From there keep your right hand heavy as you extend your left leg out to the left. As you ground through your right hand, see if you can lift your left arm up.
Stay here for around five breaths, really focusing on lengthening your arms away from each other. From here slowly release and come back to your hands and knees. Transitioning from here to the opposite side.
If you feel like you need more space in your shoulders you could place the bottom hand on a block.
Reverse Plank Pose
Come to a seated position with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent and hands behind you. Take a moment to really spread your fingers wide and ground through your palms and feet.
From here use your next inhale to lift up through your hips. Allowing your hips, shoulders and knees to be in one line. Keep breathing slow and steadily while focusing on grounding through your hands and lift up through your shoulders.
This pose can feel intense to begin with. You can always start by just lifting the hips a little bit off the ground or moving in and out of the pose dynamically (vs. holding for five breaths).
Table Top Pose Variation
Come again to your hands and knees. This time with your toes tucked and both palms heavy. See if you can engage your core as you lift your knees a few centimeters from your mat and allow them to hover.
Like with the reverse plank you can begin with lifting the knees up to hover on your inhale and then dropping them back down on your exhale. Doing this a few times. And then if you feel comfortable see if you can keep the knees lifted for around five breaths.
I’d suggest first practicing these four postures for a period of time to get familiar with them and able to hold them for five breaths before transitioning to the Wild Thing Preparation Pose and full posture.
Wild Thing Preparation Pose
If the previous poses felt accessible you can try this variation of the Wild Thing Pose to build more stability, mobility and balance.
For this preparation pose of the wild thing we’ll start from the previous posture, on our hands and knees with the knees hovering. From here step your right foot to the left (behind your left foot) and then your left foot to the right.
Press your left hand heavy into the ground as you lift up through your hips and rest your right hand on your left shoulder. You might start pausing here just one breath and over time work up to five breaths.
Then on your exhale slowly come back to the starting position on your hands and knees with knees hovering. And from here repeat on the opposite side.
Repeating this a few times can feel pretty strong. So if you need to take breaks in between you could. Otherwise you could (maybe build up to) repeating a few times on each side.
Three Legged Downward Dog Pose
Come to a Downward Dog Pose and focus on grounding through your hands and lifting up through your hips.
From here, reach your right leg up and back, bend your right knee and open your right hip. See if you can keep lifting your right knee, drawing your right heel to your right hip and grounding through your left hand.
Stay for around five breaths and then slowly release and repeat on the opposite side.
You could do both sides a few times to help warm up the hips and get comfortable with the posture. We’ll be using this Three Legged Downward Dog Pose as the starting point for the full Wild Thing Pose.
Wild Thing Pose
Find your way again into your Three Legged Downward Dog Pose with your right leg lifted and knee bent. From here keep your left hand heavy as you lift your right arm up and step your right foot over to the left of your left foot.
Like in the Wild Thing Preparation pose we’re focusing on lifting up through our hips and shoulders. And if you like reaching your right arm over your head to come into a deeper back bend.
If you feel stable here you could stay for five breaths. Otherwise stay just one breath and see if you can then flip back over. So first coming back to your Three Legged Downward Dog with both hands on the ground. And then lowering your right leg back down.
You could pause a moment in Downward Dog or Child’s Pose and then move to the opposite side.
Tips for Practice
Some of the postures and transitions in this sequence can be hard to picture if you haven’t practiced them before. Therefore I’d suggest to first start practicing along with the guided video to get familiar with the postures. Then you can experiment with practicing the Wild Thing yoga pose and sequence without guidance.
Don’t forget that the Wild Thing Pose is challenging. And so although there are variations possible for beginners it might be necessary to first take some time to work on the foundations of strength (like the Plank Pose) and flexibility (like the Cobra and Upward Dog) and the above preparation poses before attempting the Wild Thing Pose itself.
And finally, as with all your yoga practices remember to keep listening to your body and breath! If something doesn’t feel right for you, take more breaks or feel free to skip it and make your practice your own.
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