Known as Marjaiasana by its Sanskrit name, the cat pose is one of the simple yoga poses. When one does the cat pose, they want their shoulder to relax. They also want to let the neck get free while not forcing the head into the chest. The pose loosens the spine and the back. Additionally, the pose helps stretch the back, hip, lower spine, and core muscles (Tillotson 2007). Moreover, it also helps open the lungs and the chest which allows for easier breathing. Regular cat pose practice aids in improving posture as well as a healthy spine.
When doing the cat pose, inhales are normally used in a bid to create a lifting quality. During the process, the lings usually expand like balloons meaning that one should find buoyancy in the breath. On the other hand, the exhale has a deep effect on the core workings of the body especially when the abdominals are involved. In order for one to attain a deep exhale, a deep contraction must also occur in every pit of the abdomen which forces all air to come out. In the cat pose, the exhale process enables one the front body to reach maximum compression.
It is imperative to note that the inhale is normally expansive meaning that it would be difficult to round in on the breath (Tillotson 2007). Moreover, the exhale is usually protective and it brings all the attention inwards for introspection. The breath in this pose accentuates and guides the extension and flexion of the spine. Due to the fact that there are opposing motions of the spine, one tends to find a middle ground where the neutral position should be. Subsequently, this establishes the alignment of the spine in the pose where an individual’s postural habits are likely to misdirect the body. To overcome this, it is recommended that a person should regularly do the cat pose.
As reiterated above, the cat pose is one of the simple yoga poses meaning that it does not have much modifications and variations. However, when doing the pose, one can deepen the pose through exhaling and trying to round or curve the back frequently during the pose. This can be done with an aim of maximizing the stretch benefits. Additionally, it is important to note that placing the hand above and between the shoulders blades can allow a person activate the stretch. Additionally, depending on the intention of a person’s practice, one can focus on breathing such as holding the breath for about 3-6 seconds as this is important in promoting the parasympathetic nervous system.
When doing a cat pose, there are a few things that need to be avoided. First, it is considered best practice if a person avoids bending the arms at the elbows in order to localize the movement to the spine. Additionally, though the cat pose can be done when one is pregnant, it is important that one avoids forceful contraction of the abdomen, Further, if one has a neck injury, it is important that the head is kept aligned with the torso (Tillotson 2007). When these precautions are adhered to and more frequent cat poses done benefits such as opening of the spine, keeping the reproductive organs fit, activation of the adrenal glands, and opening of the chest and the lungs for easier breathing will be experienced.