Hip Yoga: Wild Thing, the Easy Way

It doesn’t quite feel easier to me yet since I’ve been practicing it the hard way for about 10 years. It’s also worth noting that not everyone shares my fear of the drop back in the down dog version and that this version does require a person to have a solid handle on the balance in side plank. So this idea of it being the “easy way” is relatively subjective. Still, I can explain this entry in far fewer steps, which does lots to make it easier in my mind.

Second Obligatory Disclaimer: Not a yoga teacher. Not professional advice. Use your own best judgment when deciding if this looks like a good idea for you.

Wild Thing — The Easy Way (from Side Plank):

  1. I start in side plank.

    Side Plank Pose

    I stack my feet because that’s just what I do naturally in side plank. However, it should also work just as well with this foot variation. And while I suspect it would be trickier to manage with either of the knees down variations of side plank, I also think it would be do-able — but would want to play around with that myself before I said so for sure.

  2. Then I drop the top foot behind me and square my hips to the ceiling.

    Side Plank with one foot placed flat on the floor behind me.

    For versions of side plank where there’s more a “font foot” and “back foot,” it’s the front foot that steps behind.

  3. Angling my tailbone forward to keep my low back from crunching, I press my hips to the ceiling.

    Wild Thing, an inverted backbend.

    I’m pretty sure that the reason I’m only on the ball of my foot here is because I landed with my back leg further under me than I do when I flip from down dog. It actually makes it easier to stretch out the more stationary leg but not so good for placing the whole foot on the ground without pinching my back. I know that the reason my free arm isn’t stretched as far as it was in the first version is because the TV stand — out of the camera shot — is in my way.

Even though I keep lamenting the fact that I didn’t know about this “easy way” until relatively recently, I think it’s probably good that I spent so long learning and practicing wild thing from down dog. Because while not seeing where I’m going to land makes me a little anxious, it is still a controlled risk. And taking conscious, controlled risk helps me learn how to cope with the negative emotions that arise from it.

Still and all, in my small home practice space, there’s just more room to do it this way. :)

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Posted in asana, backbend
2 comments on “Hip Yoga: Wild Thing, the Easy Way
  1. kurious says:

    I must admit that this pose baffles me. I ran across it about a year ago. I’ve been a yoga practitioner since ’98 in the Iyengar tradition. I’m also now a PTA (physical therapist assistant-not parent teacher association as some people ask! Ha!). When I encountered this in print (never in an Iyengar class) my first reaction was “Oh no! Potential injury to low back/sacroiliac joints and shoulders! Major instability!” And then I started wondering why it was done and it appeared to me, to be an ‘easy’ way to get into a backbend (urdhva dhanurasana) which many people struggle to do for lack of strength and flexibility. But maybe there is some other reason I am not seeing? I appreciate that you point out the importance of engaging the core. And I’m curious what you think about the benefits of this pose over plain old urdhva dhanurasana?
    I’m a new reader of your blog and have been enjoying it very much!

    • Tori says:

      I’m not sure about for other people, but for me, wild thing:

      1. Is not as deep of a backbend as is wheel.
      2. Places less stress on my wrists — particularly the fronts of my wrists — because I’m mostly dropping down into the pose from above (again, controlled by my core) rather than pressing up from the ground.
      3. Does not involve a step where I’m placing the crown of my head on the ground in order to check the positioning of my hands and shoulders. I actually don’t use that particular step to enter wheel (because the idea of using my head/neck as support while I’m moving my hands/shoulders strikes me as potentially unsafe for my neck), but I know a lot of instructors teach wheel that way.

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