How to do Cat Cow Pose in Yoga?

Grand Master Akshar

Urdhva Mukhi Marjari Asana, Image Courtesy Grand Master Akshar

Marjariasana is also known by another Sanksrit name of Bitilasana or the cat/cow pose. Ideal for warming up the body before you begin your workout, it is a combination of two gentle stretches for your spine. It forms one of the fundamental postures in yoga asanas and is simple, yet highly effective. This asana is beneficial for the body and mind as it also improves focus, dexterity and mental strength. Practice the cat/cow poses for relief if you suffer from back pain and stress.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Begin on the floor on all fours with your hands and knees. Align your knees under your hips, and your wrists with your shoulders. Let your spine be in a neutral position, engage your core. The fingers should face forward and your feet should be down with toes curled inwards and on the floor. Take a deep inhalation.

Step 2

As you exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling, and imagine you’re pulling your navel up towards your spine. Tuck your chin towards your chest, while keeping your neck relaxed. This becomes your Urdhva Mukhi Marjari Asana or Cat pose.

Step 3

On your inhalation, arch your back, and lift your head and tailbone up towards the sky — without straining your neck. Lift your neck up and eyes to the ceiling. This is the Adho Mukhi Marjari Asana or Cow pose.

Step 4

Form a continuous flow from Upward Cat Pose to Downward Cat Pose connecting your breath to each movement. Repeat this for 8-10 rounds or for as many breaths as you need.

Step 5

Gently lower your pelvis on your heels, placing your forehead on the ground and relax your back in Child’s pose or Balasana.

Adho Mukhi Marjari Asana, Image Courtesy Grand Master Akshar

Benefits of doing Marjariasana/Bitilasana:

Release tension: The cat and cow movements that are synced with your breath also stretch out your abdomen, hips, lungs and chest. This releases any tension in these areas and makes them more flexible.

Massages and stimulates abdominal organs: The organs in the belly like kidneys and adrenal glands are massaged during this yoga pose. This stimulates and strengthens them.

Provides relief for menstrual pain– Marjaryasana/Bitilasana is great for relieving menstrual cramps and pain. If you are pregnant, avoid forceful abdominal contractions while doing cat and cow pose although it is a part of prenatal yoga as it tones the reproductive organs in women.

To increase your flexibility – Urdhva Mukhi Marjari Asana / Adho Mukhi Marjari Asana or the cat/cow pose is one of the most basic poses for beginners that you can start your yoga journey with. This pose improves the flexibility of your muscles and enables you to advance to more complex poses. While it is a relatively easy pose to do, the Cat/cow pose is very effective for gently warming up your body for the session.

Improves spine strength – Cat/cow pose releases the tension of neck and upper back improving the blood flow in your spine and strengthening it.  

The writer is Philanthropist || Spiritual Master || Lifestyle Coach || Yoga-preneur || Author

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