Yoga Cat Stretch (Marjariasana)

Cat Pose Marjaryasana (Mar-jar-YA-SUN-aa) — is a gentle backbend that loosens up the spine, stretches the back of the torso, and releases tension in the neck. The posture gets its name from the Sanskrit words Marjari, meaning cat, and asana, meaning pose.

Cow PoseBitilasana (Bit-ill-Ah-SUN-aa) — is a gentle backbend that loosens up the spine, stretches the front of the torso, and releases tension in the neck. The posture gets its name from the Sanskrit words Bitila, meaning cow, and asana, meaning pose.

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Come onto your fours, forming a tabletop position.
  2. Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor with your hands directly under your shoulders and flat on the ground; your knees are hip-width apart.
  3. Look straight ahead.
  4. As you inhale, raise your chin and tilt your head back, push your navel downwards, and raise your tailbone. Compress your buttocks.
  5. Hold Cow Pose and take long, deep breaths.
  6. Follow this by a countermovement: As you exhale, drop your chin to your chest and arch your back up as much as you can, assuming the position of an angry cat.
  7. Relax your buttocks.
  8. Hold Cat Pose for a few breaths before you return to the initial tabletop position.
  9. Continue for five or six rounds, inhaling for Cow Pose and exhaling for Cat Pose, before coming out of the postures.

Benefits - Cat Pose

  • Loosens the spine
  • Massages abdominal organs
  • Stretches the back torso and neck

Benefits - Cow Pose

  • Loosens the spine
  • Massages abdominal organs
  • Stretches the front torso and neck

Precautions

  • Back or neck injury

Follow-up and Preparatory Poses

  • Child Pose | Balasana (Preparatory)
  • Thread the Needle Pose | Parvsa Balasana (Preparatory or Follow-up)

While a regular yoga practice can result in improved health, know that it is not a substitute for medical treatment. It is important to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained teacher. In the case of a medical condition, practice yoga after consulting a doctor. Do you need information on courses? Contact us at programs@us.artofliving.org to find a a Sri Sri Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you.

FREE E-COURSE Yoga for Beginners
Yoga Pose Sequences
Breathing Exercises
Guided Meditations