Cat Pose

Cat Pose (Figure 2.3) will help make your child aware of how the movement of his body connects to his breathing. Cat Pose also helps to warm and loosen the body for subsequent poses. Specifically, the pose loosens the spine and begins to open the chest. The movement of this pose may also help digestion, as it gently massages the internal organs.

Initially, the pose may make your child's arms feel tired. If so, you may need to shorten the duration of the pose. As the name of the pose implies, the action of the body is similar to a cat stretching after a nap. Your child may imagine a cat stretching his body and spine to awaken all parts of his being. The "cat" idea may give him a good sense of the movement of this pose. You may want to tell a brief story about a cat awakening and his daily routine of stretching and moving his body to ready himself for the day ahead. As a modification, you may support the child's torso in your arms (Figure 2.4). You can do this until his abdomen and back muscles are strong enough to support himself.

1. Start in the center of the mat on your hands and knees. Position hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.

2. To bring awareness to the hands and open up the hand and wrists, fingers should be fully spread and the hands should press firmly into the mat.

3. Your neck should be relaxed and your head hanging down.

4. Take a deep breath and bring your body into a cat position. Round your back upward and tuck your tailbone down.

5. Tuck your chin down towards your chest and curl your head inward.

6. Continue to press firmly down through your hands. Try to stay lifted out of the shoulders and do not allow your shoulders to sag.

7. Hold this pose for three full breaths and then release back into the original position. Stay like this for a minute and then release and stand at the front of your mat.

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