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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The best way to learn yoga is to take lessons from a professional teacher. Want to see the yoga classes near you?