The art of yoga helps keep us fresh, stretched and invigorated. The ‘cat’ pose (also known as Marjaryasana), is a simple and commonly practiced yoga pose that helps stretch and strengthen the spine while promoting flexibility and relaxation.
Start on all fours: Begin by positioning yourself on a yoga mat or a comfortable surface on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. Your fingers should be spread wide, providing a stable foundation.
Align your body: Gently engage your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine. Find a neutral spine position by keeping your back flat and parallel to the ground.
Inhale and prepare: Take a deep breath in, filling your lungs with air. As you inhale, lift your gaze and allow your belly to drop towards the floor. This is the starting position.
Exhale and round your back: As you exhale, begin the movement by slowly rounding your spine towards the ceiling. Imagine creating a dome shape with your back, like an angry cat. Tuck your chin towards your chest and release your head downward.
Repeat the movement: Inhale and return to the starting position, with your gaze lifted and your belly dropping towards the floor. Exhale and round your back again, focusing on the sensation of stretching your spine. Continue this flowing movement, synchronizing your breath with the motion.
Repeat as desired: Repeat the cat pose for several rounds, allowing your body to relax and find a rhythm. Pay attention to any areas of tension and try to release them as you move through the pose.
Modify as needed: If you have any wrist issues, you can place a folded blanket or a yoga block under your hands for added support. You can also try performing the pose while standing, using a wall for support, if getting onto the floor is challenging.
Remember to listen to your body and modify the pose if needed. If you experience any pain or discomfort, ease off the stretch or consult a qualified yoga instructor for guidance. Enjoy the benefits of the cat pose by incorporating it into your regular yoga practice or as a standalone stretch whenever you need to relieve tension in your back.