Cat and Cow Pose/Moving Cats
Cow Pose: Bitilasana (top image)
Cat pose: Marjaryasana (bottom image)
Photo of Maggie Anderson taken by Maggie Anderson
Cat and Cow Pose are commonly done together in what I like to call Moving Cats for a gentle vinyasa flow. Both of these poses stretch the front and back torso and neck. And also provide a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs, including the uterus. It’s also a great stress reliever. I’m fond of doing these two poses together at the beginning of a yoga sequence.
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Start on your hands and knees in a Table position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor, keeping your head neck and spine in one straight line of energy. As you inhale, come into Cow pose by lifting your sits bones and chest toward the ceiling, allowing your rib cage to flow down toward the floor. Lift your head to look straight forward. Exhale, coming back to neutral/Table pose. Then move into Cat pose, mimicking a Halloween cat for a gentle, flowing Vinyasa. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest. Tuck your tailbone. Inhale back into Cow and exhale Cat. Inhale, Cow. Exhale Cat. Flow back and forth at your own pace and hold where you’d like to hold for longer than a half breath. Do this for several gentle rounds, then round your spine floating back into Child’s pose.
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
With a neck injury, keep the head in line with the torso. Protect your neck by broadening across your shoulder blades and drawing your shoulders down, away from your ears. If you have difficulty rounding the very top of the upper back, you may have a partner place a hand just above and between the shoulder blades to help you activate this area.
Check out my calendar for group yoga classes dates and time.