Cat-cow pose, tortoiseshell cat
Postures, Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga Postures

Cat-Cow: Animal Yoga Pose Series

Marjaryasana-Bitilasana

Level 1: Beginner

 Benefits:

  • Relieves tension in the spinal muscles, and mobilises the spine and scapulae
  • Promotes synchronisation of the breath and movement, helps to calm the mind
  • Gently strengthens the abdominal muscles

 Contraindications/Cautions (consult your physician):

  • Back/spinal injuries.
  • Pregnant women should not do the ‘Cat’ element to avoid compression of the abdomen, return to neutral spine only.
Neutral spine in all fours
Begin by finding a neutral spine from an all fours position

Start from all fours: hands directly under shoulders, knees directly under hips about hip-width apart:

1). Find neutral spine and then inhale

2). Exhale and begin to draw the abdomen up towards the spine, letting the scapulae protract away from each other, allowing the back to arch up naturally, whilst grounding through the hands and feet. This is Cat (Marjaryasana).

Cat yoga pose
Find the arched ‘Cat’ shape by allowing the shoulder blades to round down and away from each other, gently drawing the abdomen up

3). Inhale and allow the belly to soften down so the spine comes down towards the floor, the scapulae retract together towards the midline, and gently look upwards. This is Cow (Bitilasana).

Cow/bitilasana yoga pose
Allow the belly to soften towards the floor and the shoulder blades to draw together. Only lift your head if you don’t have any neck problems.

4). Exhale and either return to neutral spine or flow back up to Cat and repeat for several breaths.

NOTES:

  • Lead the movement from the shoulders and mid-section, not the head.
  • Try and make your inhalation and exhalation durations equal.
  • Do not lock the elbows or allow them to hyperextend and come medially
  • If you have tender wrists you can come into all fours with your hands in fists and be on your knuckles.
  • If you have any neck issues do not look upwards in Cow, keep your neck in a relaxed and neutral position.
  • This is a really good posture to do if you have a few minutes spare at work to de-stress and connect to your breath, whilst releasing tension from your back and shoulders.

IMG_3035

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