It can be a sweet treat to spend an hour or more in a yoga class, but it’s not always possible in today’s busy world. For those times when you only have a minute and you need a break, remember Cat-Cow Pose. This gentle spinal flex is an effective way to awaken your back in the morning while you get your blood pumping and your breath moving. And it can be practiced any time – even while standing or seated at a desk.
Traditionally, Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana) is done on all fours. Place your hands flat on the floor under your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips. Breathe in as you look up and lift your tail, chest and chin. Drop your belly like a sway-back cow and make your shoulder blades kiss. Next breathe out as you push your back upward like a cat. Look back at your belly button. You can even hiss to help push out all the air. Continue breathing in and out with the movement.
Marjaryasana is rich with variations. Try switching the breath by inhaling during cat pose and exhaling during cow pose. Gyrate your hips and shoulders in time with your breath. Breathe deeply and slowly, or as fast as you can using the breath of fire (Kapalabati.) Tuck your toes to stretch your feet; point your fingers backwards to stretch your wrists. Practice Marjaryasana in a chair, standing in line or even in bed by using the small gentle action of arching and curving the spine in time with the breath. Be playful! Love your body and it will love you back. Namaste.
Images: Coloring pages from Yoga Teddy Bear’s Big Little Coloring Book of 108 YogaPoses colored by Miss Michele Palumbo, Bay Shore, NY. Enter our coloringcontest to win prizes. Pictures of Yoga Teddy Bear creator K. Mae Copham by Robert Oakley in Vail, CO.