Pose of the Week: Cat/Cow

Seated Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana) or traditional Cat/Cow Pose has many benefits, whether it’s done while sitting  in a chair or even in the traditional pose on hands and knees on the mat.

These benefits include improved posture and balance, more fluidity in the spine, it strengthens and stretches the spine and neck. Cat/Cow also stretches the hips, abdomen and back, helps work the brain and equilibrium with coordination and balance, and can relieve stress and calm the mind.

 

Cautions/modifications: Knee/wrist injuries or sensitivities (if doing the traditional pose – move to a chair), neck or spine injuries (you can keep the head in line with the torso as a modification for neck issues).

  1. Traditional Cat/Cow: Come to hands and knees on the mat in Table Pose, with the fingers splayed out, the hands right under the shoulders and the knees right under the hips. Head is neutral.
    – Seated Cat/Cow: Sit tall in your chair with feet flat on the floor and hands resting gently on the thighs or knees.
  2. Traditional Cat/Cow: Exhale all the air out of the lungs, then inhale while dropping the belly, looking up (heart forward) and pressing the tailbone up toward the ceiling.
    – Seated Cat/Cow: Exhale all the air out of the lungs, gently press the hands into the thighs or knees, inhale as you press the chest forward, looking up while pressing the tailbone back.
  3. Traditional Cat/Cow: As you exhale, pull the abdomen in, belly button toward the spine, drop the head down, chin to chest, curling the tailbone under and squeezing the abdomen at the end to get all the air out of the lungs (imagine a cat arching its back).
    – Seated Cat/Cow: Exhale with hands cupping the knees and begin to round out your back, pulling the belly button in toward the spine, bringing the chin to the chest and curling the tailbone under.
  4. Repeat several times or as long as feels good and then if you’d like, you can come to rest in Table or in Child’s Pose, either on the mat or if you are seated, you can come to a neutral spine, hands resting on the lap, eyes closed and feel the calming, yet rejuvenating sensations of Cat/Cow.

 

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