Got a question about yoga? Want to know where to put your arm in Trikonasana? How does Downward Dog help your shoulders? Why do we chant OM? In this new series I’ll try to answer all your questions… this one is often asked in the Beginners Yoga class…
What’s the right breathing for Marjariasana (cat and cow postures)?
The Cat and Cow postures begin on all 4s. First off, check that your posture feels solid, that your hands support your shoulders and your knees support your hips. If you feel any discomfort in your knees find a towel and make a soft pad to kneel on. If you feel any discomfort in your hands or wrists, again get a towel and place it under your wrists to see if this helps. If you can’t get comfortable then this exercise is not for you at this time.
When you are set up, visualise your spine like a thick rope with your head at one end and your bottom at the other. With this picture in your mind, begin to notice the breath and the next time you breathe in allow the ‘rope’ to sink down in the centre, then as you breathe out pull the ‘rope’ up wards towards the ceiling at the centre point. Don’t jerk, keep the breath and the movement smooth and continue with each in and out breath to see the rope moving, bending gently down and up.
This is breathing in.
When you feel like you’ve had enough, take a rest, sink your bottom down to your heels and support your head either on your arms, hands or the floor. Use your hands to push yourself up to kneeling when you feel ready.
Marjariasana is very beneficial for spinal flexibility and improvement of hand/arm strength. It is one of the fundamentals of yoga and is a great foundation on which many other postures are based. With that in mind it is really good to practice every day for a few rounds, you will then be able to glide gracefully into the plank, down dog, the cobra and many many more postures.