Marjaryasana and Bitilasana (Cat and Cow pose)

Cat pose, or Marjaryasana (pronounced mahr-jahr-ee-AHS-uh-nuh) and Cow pose, Bitilasana, (pronounced bee-tee-LAHS-uh-nuh) are practiced frequently together and are often simply called “Cat Cow Pose”. They are great poses on their own, but paired together they provide a gentle and easy warmup to further poses.

Here are instructions for they way we usually practice them in classes.

Get down onto your hands and knees, placing each hand directly under its shoulder and each knee under its hip. Point your fingers up to the top of your mat.

Relax your head and neck into a neutral position, looking downward.

Move first into Cow Pose by breathing in and relaxing your belly toward the floor.

Visualize your breath moving into your lungs and along your back while you lift your chin and chest and look up to the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds.

Now gently move into Cat Pose by exhaling while you pull your belly in toward your spine.

Round your back and allow your head and neck to relax back downward.

Visualize your breath travelling out of your body along your spine and out your mouth and nose.

Inhale again moving into Cow pose.

Exhale again moving into Cat pose.

Duration:
Hold each position for 2-4 seconds and repeat 5-10 times.

Benefits:
• Allows more coordinated physical movement and flexibility
• Improves posture and helps you walk taller
• Excellent warm-up for the body
• Stretches back, torso, and neck, improves spine alignment
• Strengthens and stimulates the abdominal muscles
• Helps regulate breathing
• Stimulates kidneys and adrenal glands
• Calms and relieves stress
• Helps to relieve back pain