The Cat Stretch Pose: A Step By Step Guide

Find out how to achieve the Cat Stretch Pose. This basic posture improves the flexibility of your precious spine!

“Like a graceful vase, a cat, even when motionless, seems to flow.” -George F. Will

The Cat Tilt Pose is a great exercise to become aware of your coccyx (the tail bone) and your sacrum area. It’s one of the numerous yoga poses that you can use to lessen your back pain. You can read more about its benefits at the bottom of the page.

In Sanskrit, the sacred language of ancient India, the Cat Tilt Pose is known as Marjariasana. Very often, in my yoga class, I begin other yoga postures with the Table Pose, the foundations of Marjariasana.

Find out more on our step by step guideĀ Pregnancy Yoga Resource. Click here to download it.

The Table Pose

Enter The Posture

  • Lay down your yoga mat on a firm and flat surface.I highly recommend PVC & Phthalate free (linked to endocrine disruption) yoga mat like theEco-Smart Yoga Matfor its numerous qualities and because it’s safer for your health.
  • Rest on your hands and knees. It’s very important to align your wrists with your shoulders and to align your knees (a few inches apart) with your hips. When our bones are aligned, they fit and we gain strength. It also prevents wrists pain and knee problems. Remember to keep your arms straight.
  • Be aware of your neck, aligned with the rest of your spine and keep it relaxed. You can look down.
  • From a neutral position, head and back relaxed, release your abdomen muscles as if your belly would touch the ground.
  • Breathe deeply through your nose. You are ready to stretch like a cat!

Modifications

If you feel uncomfortable on your yoga mat, you can place a folded blanket under your knees to protect them.

The Cat Stretch Pose

Enter The Posture

  • Lay down your yoga mat on a firm and flat surface.
  • From the Table Pose (please, read carefully the appropriate section. Nothing beats a strong start!), inhale through your nose and reach your coccyx up towards the sky. Let the movement spread like a wave, vertebra by vertebra, from your tail bone to your head.
  • At the end of the movement, rotate slightly your arms forward and keep your shoulders down from your ears.
  • Your back fully extended, look up towards the sky or in front of you. Respect your limits!
  • Slowly exhale and tuck your coccyx inwardly. Round your entire spine into flexion till your head drop down.
  • Inhale while you reach your coccyx up towards the sky. This yoga pose is becoming interesting when your movement is spreading like a wave, vertebra by vertebra, to your head.
  • At the end of the movement, rotate slightly your arms forward and keep your shoulders down from your ears.
  • Your back fully extended, look up as high as you can towards the sky.
  • You can repeat 5 times. Inhaling while doing your extension (back bending) and exhaling while doing your flexion (forward) worth one time.

Modifications

If you want to sharpen your concentration while developing a good balance, the Cat Tilt Pose with an arm and a leg raised is one of the greatest yoga postures. Sciatica (pressure on the sciatic nerve that causes pain) can be prevent with this asana.

Enter The Posture

  • From the Table pose, on your hands (aligned with your shoulders) and knees (aligned with your hips), inhale deeply and bring your right leg up parallel to the ground.
  • Exhale and keep your right leg aligned with your buttock. Keep your foot flat (you can imagine that your foot is pressing against a wall). It will keep your leg muscles engaged.
  • Inhale and bring your left arm up parallel to the ground.
  • Exhale and keep your left arm aligned with your shoulder.
  • Keep your neck relaxed and look down.
  • Breathe deeply and hold for 4-8 breaths.

Exit The Posture

To release the pose, you exhale slowly and you return to a neutral position, the Table Pose.

Benefits

  • Lengthens the spine.
  • Releases lower back pain or tension.
  • Relaxes the spine and makes hips more mobile.
  • Prevents sciatica.
  • Improves flexibility of the back and neck.
  • Invigorates the reproductive system in women. Can help lessen menstrual cramps and is excellent during back labor. You can take this posture during and between uterine contractions during labor.
  • The Cat Stretching Pose with arm and leg raised strengthens back, buttock, hamstring, calf and shin muscles.
  • Improves balance, concentration and coordination.
  • If you are pregnant, it can be a natural method for helping a baby breech presentation to adopt a vertex (head down) presentation before your due date or before your External Cephalic Version.

Contraindications

  • Recent injury to your knees might be uncomfortable.
  • No contraindication for pregnant women.

Find out more on our step by step guideĀ Pregnancy Yoga Resource. Click here to download it.