Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing yoga for life.

Cat Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions


The Cat Pose, also known as Marjariasana, creates more freedom of movement in your lower back, releasing tension to prepare you for sitting poses while gently massaging the organs in your belly.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits

Marjariasana

(Pronounced as "MAR-JAR-ee-AHS-anna")

Marjari is the Sanskrit word for "cat." In this pose, you practice arching your back just like a cat waking up from its nap.

To include this pose in your daily yoga sequence, perform Cat Pose after twists. Then move on to core-strengthening postures and restorative poses to finish your practice.

How to do Cat Pose

Step One

Place your hands and knees on the yoga mat, forming a "tabletop." Your knees should be apart, but keep your knees directly underneath your hips. Keep your arms straight and perpendicular to the floor so that your hands are right below your shoulders. The tops of your feet should rest down on the mat. Look down, keeping your neck and head in a neutral position.

Step Two

To get the full benefit of Cat Pose, perform it by arching the back both up and down the way a cat does. (Please note that many refer to the first arch you make as "Cow Pose," even though it also resembles the movement of a cat.)

Inhale as you drop your belly down as far as you can. Arch your neck up to gaze upward, letting your tailbone point up behind you.

Step Three

Now slowly exhale as you push down on your hands and knees to lift the middle of your back up toward the ceiling as far as you can. Tuck your tailbone in. Let your head drop down naturally toward the floor.

Step Four

Inhale and return back to your neutral "tabletop" position on your hands and knees with a flat back. Repeat two more times if you have no discomfort.

Beginner's Tip:

If you have trouble rounding your back, ask a friend to put a yoga belt around your waist. Then they should stand by you, holding both ends of the belt in their hands and gently tug your middle up to train your muscles to round the entire back.

Cat Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Marjariasana

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

For recent neck injuries, keep your head in line with your torso. For knee injuries, spread out a folded blanket underneath your knees and hands. Your hands and knees must remain at the same level.

Cat Pose Benefits

  • Releases neck strain and lower-back tension
  • Softly massages the abdominal organs

Next Pose:

Chair Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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