The Cat Pose is a simple and beginner-level exercise known in the Sanskrit language as Marjariasana. (Marjaree means Cat, while Asana means Pose). It is pronounced as Mar-jaree-asana.
Most of the time, this pose is combined with the Cow Pose to get the maximum benefits.
The cat pose is an effortless pose that requires both forward kneeling and stretching movements; most yoga practitioners perform this as a warm-up or preparatory exercise before moving to medium-level or higher level yoga poses.
The Idea of The Cat Pose
This pose’s main objective is to increase flexibility and fine-tune the spinal and core muscles; this pose is a stretching exercise that begins with the neck and further extends down towards the lower back area. Although this pose doesn’t mention old Vedic texts, modern practitioners have adopted this as a regular yoga exercise.
Cats are well known for their great flexibility, and since the performer's posture looks like a cat while doing this exercise, people started referring to this as the Cat Pose over time. This pose is very beneficial for a stiff back, posture correction, improved balance, and increases overall calmness and concentration of the mind.
Some of the starting exercises for the Cat Pose include Balasana and Garudasana. After mastering the Cat Pose, you can graduate to the Cow Pose or use a combination of Cat/Cow pose to form different beneficial variations.
Steps: How To Do A Cat Pose
Start by forming a tabletop position using your hands and knees; both your hands and knees should form the table’s four legs. Your back should be in a straight position; the knees should maintain a 90-degree angle with your hips, while the wrists, elbows, and shoulders must be aligned in a linear position perpendicular to the floor.
While maintaining the above position, align your palms in a forward direction making sure your entire palm is touching the floor, and your weight is evenly distributed; on the bottom side, both of your knees should be placed as wide as your hips. Keep your neck and head in a neutral stance, and position yourself to look straight forward.
While inhaling deeply, slowly start raising your chin and move your head backward; simultaneously, compress your bottom (butt), lift the tailbone, and push your midsection towards the floor. It’s pretty common to experience some kind of tingling sensation in your body during this. Next, take a few deep breaths, and hold this position for a few seconds or as comfort allows.
While exhaling, in contrast to raising your chin and head like earlier, you should slowly drop them and bend your back as far as you comfortably can provide that it’s not causing discomfort or pain. Once you reach the maximum bend, relax your buttocks.
After performing one set of this yoga pose, slowly return to the initial tabletop position. You may repeat the Cat Pose five to six times; the time to hold the up and down postures can vary from individual to individual.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long is The Duration of Cat Pose?
Experts recommend that, instead of sticking to a specific time frame, perform the pose whenever you’re comfortable doing so. However, yoga instructors do mention repeating the cat pose five to six times is preferred but not required. Furthermore, this pose can help with losing extra weight and improving overall posture, and increased flexibility and strength.
When To Avoid Performing Cat Pose?
It’s highly recommended that pregnant women, especially in the later months, should avoid this pose. Moreover, people with spondylitis, arthritis, high and low blood pressure, chronic migraines, and injuries to the neck, knees, hips, shoulders, and back should avoid this pose as well. Make sure to consult a medical professional or yoga trainer before performing it.
Can Cat Pose Cause Any Injuries?
Cat pose is a straightforward pose that isn’t commonly known to cause injuries; however, trying Cow-Cat Pose variations can cause injuries if not performed under proper guidance. It does increase flexibility and help to release muscle stress. It’s also great for reducing standard back stiffness and tired backs.
The cat pose is excellent for improving the flexibility and strength of the spinal and abdominal areas. It also strengthens the arms, shoulders, and wrists of the practitioner. What’s more, it’s regularly used to improve digestion and strengthens many digestive organs.
It’s also helpful for proper body alignment and fixing posture-related issues, especially in the abdominal areas of the body. Often, it’s utilized to enhance concentration and to calm the mind; a person performing this pose will feel more relaxed and full of energy.
In some cases, it can improve blood circulation in the body and also helps with different breathing-related problems. Paired with Cow Pose, it is considered one of the best warm-up exercises for performing with other intermediate or expert level yoga poses.