The Cat and Cow positions are well-known amongst yoga beginners. The serious yoga adepts refer to these positions as Marjari-asana.
These asanas are easy to do and can help improve the flexibility of your neck, shoulders and spine.
They also provide additional benefits to women: it helps tone the reproductive system and relieve menstrual cramps.
Good news for pregnant women, you can keep practicing these two positions up to 6 months into your pregnancy but you should refrain from overly contracting the abdomen after the third month.
Basic Cat and Cow Yoga Positions
It’s time to get ready. All you need is a yoga mat or some other flat, non-slippery surface.
- 1. Stand on your knees and hands in the middle of your mat. Your hands should be flat with your fingers facing forward. Your hands and knees must be in line with each other. The arms and thighs should be perpendicular to the ground.
- 2. To get into the cow position, inhale while raising your head, depressing the spine and pointing your bum to the sky.
- 3. While in the cow position, fill the lungs and abdomen fully. Hold your breath for about 3 seconds.
- 4. Exhale into the cat position by lowering your head and allowing your spine to reach towards the sky while your bum is pointing down. Your head is facing your thighs.
- 5. As you finish exhaling, contract the abdomen and hold your breath for about 3 seconds.
You have just finished one set of the cow and cat position. Repeat 4 times. As you get more and more comfortable with these two positions, you should aim to take 5 seconds to inhale and 5 seconds to exhale.
When you have mastered the cat and cow positions, you can move on to Vyaghrasana, which is also known as tiger pose.
- 1. Starting in the cow position, inhale as you stretch and sraighten the left leg behind you. Look up and try to imagine your toes reaching for your head.
- 2. Hold your breath while you bring your left knee back towards you and exhale as you bring the knee to your nose, as shown below. Make sure to arch your back as you finish this movement. Keep your left foot off the ground. Hold your breath.
- 3. Return to the basic cow position and repeat with the right leg.
Once you have finished a full cycle (2 legs), repeat 4 times for each leg.
In addition to the benefits listed above for the basic positions, this advanced tiger pose can help your abdominal muscles, digestion, blood circulation and improve the firmness of your thighs.
In case you wondered why it’s sometimes called the tiger position, try to picture a tiger that is just waking up and stretching… If you liked this cat and cow yoga information, learn more about yoga throughout this site. The list of illustrated asanas is included in the right column.