The Cat Pose is a common yoga posture that is often used as a warm-up or cool-down pose, or as a way to stretch the spine and relieve tension in the back and neck.
Over time, the Cat-Pose has become a popular yoga posture in many different styles of yoga. It is often used as a warm-up or cool-down pose, or as a way to stretch the spine and relieve tension in the back and neck.
Today, the Cat Pose is a common posture in many yoga classes around the world and is enjoyed by practitioners of all levels and abilities.
Because it’s so common, it’s simple to practise it mindlessly or to hurry through it in order to get to what comes next. Speed up. Allow yourself to feel it. Nicola Jane Hobbs, a yoga instructor and author of Yoga Gym and Thrive Through Yoga, advises students to concentrate on tucking their tailbones, rounding their spines, and relaxing their necks while performing this posture.
History Of cat Pose – Marjaryasana
The Cat Pose, also known as Marjariasana in Sanskrit, has a long history in the practice of yoga. The word “marjari” means “cat” and “asana” means “pose” or “posture” in Sanskrit.
The pose is said to have been developed in India as a way to improve flexibility and strength in the spine. The Cat Pose is often practiced as part of the Sun Salutation sequence, which is a popular series of yoga poses performed in a flowing manner.
In the traditional Sanskrit text on yoga, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Cat-Pose is described as a posture that helps to balance the nervous system and calm the mind. It is also said to stimulate the abdominal organs and improve digestion.
Cat Pose – Marjaryasana Basics
Target: Cat pose targets the following areas Spine, Abdomen, Shoulders, Neck, Mind.
Pose Type: Backbend
How To Perform Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)
Here are the steps to perform the Cat Pose:
- Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- As you exhale, round your spine upward, pulling your belly button toward your spine and dropping your head toward the floor. This is the “cat” part of the pose.
- Press your hands firmly into the floor, engaging your core muscles to support your spine.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths, feeling the stretch in your spine and the engagement in your core.
- Inhale and arch your back downward, lifting your tailbone and chest toward the ceiling and allowing your head to lift naturally. This is the “cow” part of the pose.
- Repeat the sequence several times, moving smoothly and syncing your breath with your movements.
- Focus on keeping your movements controlled and avoiding any sudden jerking or bouncing.
- You can hold each posture for a few breaths or move through the sequence more quickly, depending on your preference.
- Remember to listen to your body and avoid any discomfort or pain. You can modify the pose as needed by using props or adjusting the range of motion in your spine.
The Cat-Pose can also be modified by raising one leg behind you while rounding your spine or extending one arm forward while arching your back.
You may attempt holding the posture for extended lengths of time or including it into a longer yoga practise as you get more accustomed to it.
Throughout the position, keep in mind to breathe deeply and deliberately, utilising your breath to assist you move easily and remain in the present.
The Cat Pose is a terrific method to loosen up your back and neck after a long day and warm up your spine to prepare your body for other yoga poses.
Benifits of cat-pose (Marjariasana)
Here are some of the key benefits of the pose:
- Improves spinal flexibility: The Cat Pose helps to stretch and mobilize the spine, improving flexibility and reducing stiffness.
- Strengthens the core: The pose engages the abdominal muscles, helping to strengthen the core and support good posture.
- Stimulates digestion: The gentle pressure on the abdomen can help to stimulate the digestive system, promoting healthy digestion and relieving constipation.
- Relieves tension in the back and neck: The pose can help to release tension and tightness in the muscles of the back and neck, reducing pain and discomfort.
- Calms the mind: The rhythmic, flowing movements of the pose can have a calming effect on the mind, reducing stress and anxiety.
- Increases body awareness: The pose requires focus and attention to body alignment and breath, helping to increase body awareness and mindfulness.
- Prepares the body for other yoga poses: The Cat Pose is often used as a warm-up pose to prepare the body for other yoga postures, such as the Downward-Facing Dog or the Plank Pose.
Overall, the Cat Pose is a straightforward and efficient approach to strengthen the core, increase spinal mobility, and encourage awareness and relaxation. It is a fantastic posture for both new and seasoned yogis wishing to add a little stretch and warm-up to their practise.
You can also do bridge pose.
Marjariasana Beginner Tips
Here are some beginner tips for performing the Cat Pose:
- Take it slow: The Cat Pose is a gentle and flowing movement, so it’s important to move slowly and mindfully through each step. Avoid rushing or forcing the movements, and focus on moving with your breath.
- Use props: If you have tightness in your wrists, you can place a folded towel or blanket under your hands to cushion them. If you have sensitive knees, you can place a folded towel or blanket under your knees for extra support.
- Focus on your breath: Use your breath to guide your movements and help you stay present in the moment. Inhale as you arch your back, and exhale as you round your spine.
- Keep your neck relaxed: To avoid strain in your neck, keep your gaze down toward the floor as you round your spine. You can also tuck your chin slightly toward your chest.
- Engage your core: To get the most benefit from the pose, engage your core muscles as you move through the sequence. This will help to strengthen your abdominal muscles and support your spine.
- Modify as needed: If you have any discomfort or pain in your wrists, knees, or back, you can modify the pose by using props or adjusting the range of motion in your spine.
- Practice regularly: The Cat-Pose is a great pose to incorporate into your daily yoga practice, as it can help to improve spinal mobility and relieve tension in the back and neck.
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Cat Pose Variation
Some variations of the Cat Pose include the Extended Cat Pose, Cat-Cow Flow, Raised Leg Cat Pose, Side-Bending Cat Pose, Curtsy Cat Pose, and Cat Pose with Twist. These variations can add interest and challenge to your practice while still maintaining the gentle and flowing nature of the pose. Remember to listen to your body and modify or skip any variations that don’t feel comfortable or safe for you.
- xtended Cat Pose: In this variation, extend one arm forward as you round your spine and exhale, then switch arms and repeat on the other side.
- Cat-Cow Flow: This is a flowing sequence that combines the Cat Pose with its counterpart, the Cow Pose. Move from Cat Pose to Cow Pose as you inhale and exhale, respectively.
- Raised Leg Cat Pose: Lift one leg behind you as you arch your back and inhale, then lower the leg and round your spine as you exhale. Repeat on the other side.
- Side-Bending Cat Pose: As you exhale and round your spine, reach one hand toward the opposite knee, creating a side bend in your torso. Inhale and return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.
- Curtsy Cat Pose: As you exhale and round your spine, step one foot behind the opposite leg into a curtsy position. Inhale and return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.
- Cat Pose with Twist: As you exhale and round your spine, twist your torso to one side, reaching one arm up toward the ceiling. Inhale and return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.