Stretch

(marjarasana)

Cat Stretch improves the flexibility of your spine and the circulation in your torso. While stretching your shoulders, back and hips, this stretch may also help improve many bodily functions, such as digestion and elimination. You may want to perform Cat Stretch as a warm-up pose or after more strenuous poses to help release tension from your body.

Cat Stretch allows you to practice coordinating your movements with your breath. Exhale as you round and lift your upper back and inhale as you gently arch your lower back. Remember to keep the movements in Cat Stretch smooth and fluid.

You should use your entire spine to perform this stretch, making sure the back of your neck and your lower back are not compressed when you curl your spine. Feel your spine lengthen in each direction as your tailbone moves away from the crown of your head. As you round and lift your upper back, keep your shoulders relaxed down.

You should use caution performing Cat Stretch if you have back, wrist or knee problems.

Begin in Table Pose. For information on Table Pose, see page 172.

Make sure your arms are straight, but your elbows are not locked.

Spread your fingers out, with your middle fingers pointing straight ahead.

Lengthen your spine, keeping your head, neck and spine in a straight line.

Begin in Table Pose. For information on Table Pose, see page 172.

Make sure your wrists are below your shoulders and your knees are below your hips.

Make sure your arms are straight, but your elbows are not locked.

Spread your fingers out, with your middle fingers pointing straight ahead.

Lengthen your spine, keeping your head, neck and spine in a straight line.

How can I modify the stretch if I have wrist problems?

If you have wrist problems, you can make your hands into fists and place your knuckles, instead of your palms, on the floor as you perform Cat Stretch. You can also perform the stretch with your wrists supported. To support your wrists, place a rolled up towel under your wrists and allow your fingers to rest on the floor.

My knees feel sore when I perform Cat Stretch. What can I do?

You can place a folded blanket under your knees. If you cannot rest on your knees at all, you can perform Cat Stretch sitting in Easy Pose, which is shown on page 74. Exhale as you round your back and tuck your chin toward your chest. Then inhale as you press your sitting bones into the floor, lift your chest up and point the crown of your head toward the ceiling.

Supporting the weight of your body evenly on your hands and knees, exhale as you tuck your tailbone under you and round and lift your upper back toward the ceiling.

Tuck your chin toward your chest.

•Visualize yourself as a cat stretching after waking up from a nap.

Inhale as you curl your tailbone up toward the ceiling so your stomach moves toward the floor and your lower back gently arches.

Point the crown of your head toward the ceiling and gaze straight ahead.

Repeat steps to 7 three to ten times.

extended^

stretch

Extended Cat Stretch is a great pose for stretching and warming up your spine. This pose is also beneficial for stretching your legs and neck. By supporting the weight of your body in this pose with your hands and knees, you strengthen your wrists and arms and help build strong bones. If you are feeling sluggish, you can perform Extended Cat Stretch to help awaken and energize your mind.

As you bring your forehead toward your knee in Extended Cat Stretch, make sure you do not strain

nVERY I

Begin in Table Pose. For Exhale as you bring your information on Table right knee off the floor

Pose, see page 172. and under your body.

your neck. You should only move your forehead as close to your knee as is comfortable for you.

Use caution performing Extended Cat Stretch if you have wrist problems, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you find that your wrists need extra support when performing the stretch, you can place a rolled up towel under your wrists, allowing your fingers to rest on the floor. You should also be careful performing this pose if you have a knee injury.

Tuck your forehead • Your forehead and right down. knee should move toward each other.

What should I do if my knees are uncomfortable in this pose?

If you feel pressure on your knees in this pose, place a folded towel or blanket under your knees before you begin. This makes the pose more comfortable, protecting your supporting knee from any stress you may experience as you raise your other leg.

How can I ensure my pelvis is stable in this pose?

It is important to make sure your pelvis is stable and your hips are even and facing the floor in this pose. To help stabilize your pelvis, try to focus on pulling your abdominal muscles toward your spine. You should also make sure you do not lean into your supporting leg.

Inhale as you extend your right leg behind you.

• Make sure both your hips are facing the floor and your pelvis is stable.

Point the toes of your right foot behind you and stretch through your toes.

Lift your head and look forward.

• Feel your body lengthening from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes.

Repeat steps to 6 three to six times and then return to Table Pose.

Repeat steps to 7 for your other side.

Yoga for You

Yoga for You

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Responses

  • destiny
    Why do i feel a stretch in my knees in cat stretch?
    7 years ago

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