Cat Cow Pose

Cat Cow Pose

This name, Marjary and Bitila comes from Sanskrit script, where ‘marjari’ meaning ‘cat’ and ‘bitila’ meaning ‘cow’ is defined. The pose Marjaryasana- Bitilasana is a combination of two poses practiced together to gently warm up the spine and the abdomen for more challenging postures or is sometimes also practiced as a simple restorative pose. Coming on all fours, and gently moving the back in a rhythmic way, and taking the position like that of a cat or a cow, releases the tensions around the spine and shoulders and tightens the abdomen to make a stronger core.

Cat Cow Pose is considered a base pose as cat cow pose variations can be derived from this pose.Cat Cow Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.Cat Cow Pose is considered a warm-up yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses / yoga flows.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your shins and knees hip-width apart. Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward.
Step 2
Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
Step 3
Broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
Step 4
Next, move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back.
Step 5
Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest.
Step 6
Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
Step 7
Repeat 5-20 times, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.

Benefits and Contraindications

Benefits

Activates the Adrenal Glands

Activates the Pancreas

Keeps the Reproductive Organs fit

A great opening of the spine

Strengthens the arms and the shoulders

Deep stretch to the neck improves flexibility

Massages the internal organs thus improving digestion

Good for women during difficult times of menstruation

Helps in the treatment of insomnia as a restorative pose

Improves Posture

Contraindications

Weak wrists and shoulders

Injury at the shoulders

Weak or injured knees

Pregnant women to take guidance

Photo poses in different angles

Tips

Practicing Cat-Cow can warm the body and prepare it for many activities. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this sequence:

In Cat, let your head drop, releasing the back of your neck. Do not force your chin to your chest.
Also in Cat, you can increase the abdominal massage and strengthening effects by drawing your belly button firmly in toward your spine.
In Cow, let the movement start from the tailbone. Allow your neck and head to be the very last part of the movement.
Keep your shoulder blades broad and draw your shoulders away from your ears. This helps to protect your neck during the movements.
Be aware of your breath and its coordination with your movements. Imagine your breath traveling up and down your spine as you inhale and exhale, like an ocean wave flowing onto the beach and retreating.

Modifications & Variations
  • Cat Cow Pose One Leg Aerial
  • Cat Cow Pose Knees Lifted
  • Cat Cow Pose Variation Arms Elbows Flow
  • Cat Cow Pose Block Thighs
  • Rocket Cat Pose
  • Cat Cow Pose Spinal Flossing Flow
  • Cat Pose Variation Waist Side Bending
  • Cat Pose Hovering Cow Pose Feet Up Flow
  • Cat Cow Pose With Leg To Side
Top Preparatory Poses
  • Table Top Pose
  • Child Pose
  • Wide Child Pose
Top Follow-Up Poses
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose
  • Balancing Table Pose
  • Child Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana has been actively practicing yoga for 5 years. In addition to practice, she studies various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.