Cat Pose

Last Updated: January 9, 2018

Definition - What does Cat Pose mean?

Cat pose is a simple core posture that's one of the most fundamental poses throughout the many schools of yoga. The name comes from the resemblance of a cat rounding its back.

From a hands-and-knees tabletop position, the core muscles are pulled in toward the spine as the back rounds and the head releases gently toward the ground. This pose is often paired with cow pose (bitilasana), in which the belly sinks toward the ground, creating an arch in the back as the head rises.

Cat pose is also known by its Sanskrit name, marjaryasana.

Cat Pose

Yogapedia explains Cat Pose

In addition to releasing tension in the spine, which prepares the body for more challenging poses, cat pose also:

  • Strengthens the arms, wrists and shoulders;
  • Gently massages the abdominal organs, thereby improving digestion;
  • Tones and strengthens the core muscles;
  • Stretches the neck and spine;
  • Improves circulation; and
  • Reduces stress by calming the mind.

Although simple, cat pose requires precise body positioning for maximum benefit and safety. The knees should be directly under the hips and the hands should be directly under the shoulders.

Anyone who has neck problems or a head injury should keep the head and neck in line with the body. For those with knee or wrist injuries, cat pose can be practiced while seated upright in a chair.

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