Marjaryasana/Bitilasana, famously known as the cat-cow pose in Sanskrit, is a gentle movement that helps keep the spine healthy. It is an excellent stretch that can be practiced anywhere. Given its incredible benefits, non-yogis also incorporate this easy-flow asana before or after their workout routine.
If done before the exercise, it helps to prepare the body for a more strenuous session. After exercise, the cat-cow pose can help relieve any residual tension from the muscles. So, this was a little sneak-peak into the benefits of the cat-cow pose.
What are the benefits of doing cat-cow pose?
The cat-cow pose is a simple spinal warm-up that helps to:
- Lubricate the spine: The cat-cow pose helps to massage the spinal disks and keep them healthy. This, in return, decreases the chances of getting hurt while performing other asanas or exercising. Also, lubrication can ease your spine life by reducing the wear and tear of the disks.
- Prepare the body for a workout: The flow of this asana loosens up the muscles surrounding the spine. With this, other asanas become simpler to do and the chance of trauma or accidental injury is decreased. Also, if you are into lifting heavy weights, it can prevent back or neck injuries.
- Relieve tension: After a strenuous workout session, this pose can help relieve any tightness in your muscles due to swelling and the accumulation of lactic acid. If you practice the cat-cow pose on a regular basis, it can help prevent cramps that you may suffer the day after a laborious exercise.
- Increase flexibility: As you synchronize your breathing with the deep stretches at the cat and cow positions, it gradually expands your ligaments and muscles. Your range of movement and fluidity will therefore improve. So, if you cannot touch your toes while you bend or make your head and knee meet during Janu Sirasana, regular practice can help you achieve your goals.
- Reduce stress: The rhythmic flow while you practice the cat-cow pose can help release any stagnant energy in your body. This, in turn, helps relax your mind and reduce stress. Also, deep breathing while in this position can help deliver more oxygen to your brain, which can further assist you in feeling calm. It is known to open up your Swadhisthana Chakra or the sacral chakra, which is linked to your emotions.
- Relieve office neck pain: If you are a person who spends hours in front of a computer, this is the perfect asana for you. The hunched-over posture can cause stiffness and soreness in the shoulders and neck, which the cat-cow pose helps to ease. It also helps improve your posture by lengthening your spine.
- Ease menstrual discomfort: The cat-cow pose is beneficial for women during their menstruation cycle. It helps ease the pain and discomfort that can be caused by cramps. The asana also regulates blood flow, which can help reduce heavy bleeding.
- Reduce headaches: The cat-cow pose is effective in reducing tension headaches. It assists in releasing any stress in the head, neck, and shoulder areas that may be the source of migraines. Also, deep breathing while in this position can help deliver more oxygen to your brain, which can further help you get rid of headaches.
- Flip a breech baby: This asana is known to be helpful for pregnant women who are carrying a breech baby. The baby should be born in the proper position, which aids in the health of the baby. However, it is advised to perform this asana only with the supervision of a certified and experienced instructor.
- Improve digestion: The cat-cow pose is beneficial for the digestive system. It helps massage the abdominal organs and stimulate food movement through the intestines. This, in turn, can help relieve constipation and gas. It’s also recognized that asana increases appetite.
How to do Marjaryasana-Bitilasana?
Here are the steps to follow:
- Start on your hands and knees on the floor in a tabletop position.
- Your hands should be precisely below your shoulders and your knees should be beneath your hips.
- Arch your back and tilt your head toward the sky as you inhale. This is the cow pose.
- Exhale while bending your back and bringing your chin to your chest. This is when you come into the cat position.
- With each inhalation and exhalation, continue switching between the cow and cat poses.
- Return to the tabletop position on your hands and knees to come out of the pose.
Tips for your cat-cow pose practice
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- If you have neck pain, do not look up while in the cow pose. Instead, keep looking down at the ground.
- Do not force your back into the round position in the cat pose. Let your spine move naturally.
- Do not hold your breath while practicing this pose. Instead, breathe deeply and rhythmically.
- If you have lower back pain, place a blanket under your knees for support.
- To increase the stretch in your back, press down into your hands while in the cow pose.
- To increase the stretch of your neck, tilt your head back while in the cat pose.
- Practice this pose slowly and with control. Do not rock back and forth.
- You can place your hands on your lower back for support while in the cow pose.
The cat-cow pose is a gentle and therapeutic asana that offers a host of benefits. Your body will feel more at ease, renewed, and refreshed in 2-3 mins. If you have any comorbidity or known health problems, be certain to use caution when practicing. It is advisable to consult a trained yoga teacher before you incorporate this pose into your yoga routine. You may make the most of the position once you’ve learned it by doing it regularly. So, practice consistently.