Cat Pose - Marjaryasana - Importance and Benefits

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The Sanskrit name of cat pose is known as marjaryasana. This name comes when the body resembles the cat and it starts around its back. Bidalasana is also called marjariasana. In this posture, the maximum use of the core muscles helps to tone the muscles around the backbone, which is regarded as a simple foundation position that everyone can perform. The key is to make the dorsal column as flexible as that of the cats, but it also helps release the hip, lower back and neck tensions.

As variations in cat pose can be derived from the posture, cat pose is considered as the base.

The core muscles of the hands and knees are pushed in the back to the spine, and the head smoothly releases to the ground. This position is also combined with a bitilasana, where the body falls over the ground, forming an arch in the back as the head goes up.

Definition

In several schools of yoga, marjaryasana is a central asana that is one of the most basic poses. The name is derived from the Sanskrit words marjari, which means “animal,” and asana, which means “pose.”

What is The Meaning of Marjaryasana?

When the back rounds from a hands-and-knees tabletop stance, the core muscles are drawn in against the spine, while Curling your head softly into the surface.

In English, Marjaryasana is known as a cat pose.

Marjaryasana is thought to help with stress relief by soothing the mind. It stimulates self-esteem, loving-kindness and affection in a spiritual way by opening the anahata (heart) chakra.

Marjaryasana is a basic posture that involves precise body alignment. The palms must be immediately under the elbows and the feet should be directly underneath the hips. This asana is normally done in conjunction with bitilasana (cow pose), in which the belly falls toward the surface and the back arches.

How to do Cat Pose Yoga: Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Begin to sit in the middle of the mat in Vajrasana and put hips on your heels, sitting on your lower leg and knees.
  • Relax and breathe here and stretch the spin up while you breathe.
  • Inhale and raise your arms straight out in front of you, palms on the ground.
  • Inhale and lift your torso off your heels and the mat, bringing yourself to a balanced position on all fours (your palms and knees).
  • Place the palms in line with the elbows, holding the knees at hip distance apart. Put them just behind in line with the knee when resting the top of the foot on the ground. The palms, knees and feet should therefore be in line.
  • Continue to align, ensure that the hands are underneath the elbows, the knees underneath the hip joint and the torso parallel to the ground.
  • Once the position and alignment are established, bring the body’s weight to the spine’s centre, preventing it from falling across the shoulders and the wrists.
  • Take a few deep breaths and look straight ahead. Bring consciousness and respiration to the movement of the body.
  • Inhale, lift the back upward, draw the bottom of the body, exhale and move the neck into the body in the form of a bow. Exhalation totally with the belly and neck movement.
  • Extend the back further upward and form the whole back as much as an arch, and start to breathe slowly.
  • The body should now resemble a cat stretching its back and forming a deep rounding of the back. A cat extends the entire body and bends its back up to the top, while its neck falls within.
  • If you do so, use the abdominal muscles together with the diaphragm muscles to start your deep and slow breathing in order to achieve the best advantage for your position. Here, when you breathe in, you relax your body, keep your neck still in and around your back; and as you breathe out, you draw the bowel deep into it.
  • Ensuring that the body weights are not all against the wrists and shoulders will help preserve flexibility with the use of the core muscles.
  • Hold this position for about 4 breaths, paying attention to the movement of the abdomen, chest, and upper back.
  • Inhale, lift your head up, let go of your body and wait to rest. Relax and sit down in vajrasana after leaving your posture. Return to the cat pose again and hold the posture for 8 or more breaths.
  • Cat pose and cow pose are frequently combined because the movement of the spine combined with contractions of the various muscles continues to improve flexibility and body position.
  • Come to a complete rest in a wide child’s pose after releasing from marjariasana.

Beginner’s Tip

  • Request your yoga partner to place their hands on your upper back to assist in activating that area.
  • Try to initiate your tailbone movement first then step up the spine to make your head go down for a while. This will help you discover the curve in various sections of the back.

Variations

  • Try the seated version: Sit on a chair or in a simple place with a cross leg. Put your hands on your knees and round your back to Cat’s outbreathing position. On the in-breath, add the Cow Pose.
  • Try the standing version: Stay apart with the width of your legs, your knees slightly bent. On the out-breath, put your hands on your thighs and round your spine. Add the in-breath cow position.
  • Make a series Cat-Cow a central awakening activity by stretching out the face arm and foot with the cow pose and drawing a back elbow and knee to the nose with the Cat posture.

Cat Pose Titles in English and Sanskrit

Many poses of yoga have so many names due to various variations in the Sanskrit version of the english name or because of the common practise between yoga instructors and yoga practitioners. The common Cat Pose titles are as follows

  • Cat Pose
  • Marjaryasana
  • Billiasana
  • Bidalasana
  • Viralasana

When to Avoid Cat Pose

Do not practice  Bidalasana or Cat Pose, if you’re dealing with the below health conditions.

  • Shoulders, wrists, neck, hip, knee, and back injuries
  • High Blood Pressure (HBP)
  • Migraine
  • Spondylitis
  • Knee and wrist arthritis

Benefits

Despite how simple this pose appears to be, remember that it is the alignment and the breath that allow you to get the most out of it. The following are 15 advantages of performing Marjariasana or Bidalasana:

  • Enhances the spine’s flexibility.
  • While flexing the spine, improves the body’s prana.
  • Problems in the lower back, middle back, neck, and shoulders are relaxed with this massage.
  • This exercise fully engages the core muscles, strengthening them.
  • Arms, shoulders, and wrists are all strengthened.
  • Hip, knee, and shoulder joints are all strengthened.
  • Massages the abdominal muscles gently, which aids digestion.
  • This is an excellent pose for reducing stress, insomnia, and promoting restful sleep.
    Enhances body posture.
  • This is a fantastic pose for reducing PMS symptoms.
  • This is an excellent prenatal and postnatal pose to practice.
  • Most advanced backbend poses use this pose as a foundation.
  • The Cat Pose, like most poses, brings awareness to the body and breath.
  • This pose can be practised in a restorative manner by anyone suffering from Fibromyalgia.
  • The Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus) and the Vishuddhi Chakra are both enabled (Throat Chakra)

In a Nutshell,

Fusion of two stretches, Marjaryasana brings with it many benefits. Regular practise of this pose helps improve posture and balance as well as strengthens and stretches the spine and neck. It also helps stretch the hips, improving the overall posture. So, why not go on working on this easy to do asana and garner good health and longetivity.