How to do Marjariasana, Know its Benefits, Variations, Precautions

About Marjariasana or the Cat Pose!

Marjariasana gets its name from Sanskrit where “Marjari” means “Cat” and “Asana” means “Pose” or “Posture.” In the final Posture of this yoga pose, the body appears like a Cat and hence the name Marjariasana. The English name of Marjariasana is “Cat Stretch Pose.” Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose is excellent for improving flexibility of the spine. Most of the asanas or poses have been adopted by observing animals. The cat family has one of the most flexible spines in the animal kingdom.

Like other asanas, it is considered best when Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose is practiced early in the morning. However, if because of some reason, you are not able to practice it in the morning, you can practice Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose in the evening as well. Mornings are preferred as the food is digested and your body has the energy to perform the asanas. But make sure that when you are practicing Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose in the evening, you should have had your food five to six hours before you practice as your food takes this much time to digest.

Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose is a great way to focus on your breathing. This asana helps in stretching and strengthening of the spine, which helps reduce pressure between your vertebrae and joints.

How to Do Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose?

How to Do Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose?

To practice Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose, sit in Vajrasana or The Thunderbolt Pose.

Steps to Get in Vajrasana or the Thunderbolt Pose:

  • To practice Vajrasana, sit with your legs outstretched on the floor or on the yoga mat.
  • Kneel down while bending your lower legs backwards in such a way that they are kept together and the big toes of both the feet are crossing each other.
  • To practice Vajrasana, gently lower your body on the lower legs in such a way that the thighs are resting on your calves.
  • Keep your hands on your knees and set your gaze on a point and look forward while keeping your head and neck straight.
  • Maintain your breath while practicing Vajrasana. You should inhale and exhale deeply while sitting in this position.
  • Close your eyes while breathing and focus on the eye center and try to calm your mind.
  • Beginners should try to stay in this position for 5-10 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
  • Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 15-20 minutes or for as long as you can.

Steps to Get in Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose:

  • To get into Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose, you must get into Vajrasana or The Thunderbolt Pose first as mentioned above.
  • Raise the buttocks and stand on the knees while getting into Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • Lean forward and place the hands flat on the floor beneath the shoulders with the fingers facing forward while getting into The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • Make sure that your hands should be in line with the knees while getting into Marjariasana.
  • The arms and thighs should be perpendicular to the floor while practicing this pose.
  • The knees may be together or slightly separated while practicing The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • This is the Marjariasana starting position.
  • Inhale deeply while raising the head and depressing the spine in such a way that the back becomes concave while practicing this pose.
  • Expand the abdomen fully and fill the lungs with the maximum amount of air while practicing this pose.
  • Hold the breath in this position for 3 – 4 seconds.
  • Exhale deeply while lowering the head and stretching the spine upward while practicing The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • While practicing Marjariasana, at the end of exhalation contract the abdomen and pull in the buttocks.
  • The head will now be between the arms, facing the thighs.
  • Hold the breath again in this position for 3 seconds in such a way that you are accentuating the arch of the spine and the abdominal contraction while practicing Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • This completes one round of this pose.
  • Practice at least 5 to 8 rounds of Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • Beginners should try to stay in this position for 1-2 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
  • Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 3-4 minutes or for as long as you can.
  • After the practice, rest your body in Shavasana for 1-2 minutes.

Breathing Pattern to be Followed While Practicing Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose

  • Inhale deeply while raising the head and depressing the spine in such a way that the back becomes concave while practicing Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • Retain your breath while being in this position for 3-4 seconds while practicing this yoga pose.
  • Maintain a normal breath after you are unable to hold your breath in Marjariasana.
  • Exhale deeply when you come to the raised position while practicing The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • Retain your breath while being in this position for 3-4 seconds while practicing this pose.
  • Maintain a normal breath after you are unable to hold your breath in Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • Exhale deeply after releasing the pose and coming back to Shavasana.

Preparatory and Follow Up Poses To Be Practiced With Marjariasana Or The Cat Stretch Pose

Preparatory Poses: The various preparatory poses to be practiced before Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose are Dandasana or The Staff Pose, Balasana or The Child’s Pose and Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.

Follow Up Poses: The various follow up poses to be practiced after Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose are Adho Mukha Svanasana or The Downward Facing Dog, Vajrasana or The Diamond pose, Uttanasana or The Standing Forward Bend Pose, Bitilasana or The Cow Pose, Chakrasana or The Wheel pose.

Awareness While Practicing Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose

Physical Awareness – The Physical Awareness while practicing Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose should be on the breath synchronized with the movement and flexion of the spine from top to bottom.

Spiritual Awareness – The Spiritual Awareness while practicing Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose should be on Swadhisthana Chakra or The Sacral Chakra. Svadhishthana contains unconscious desires. It is said that to raise the Kundalini Shakti or the energy of consciousness.

Benefits of Practicing Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose

Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose is beneficial in increasing the flow of blood to the brain and thus helps in flushing out toxins stored in the body which also helps in getting a glow on the face.

  • This yoga asana also helps in draining excess blood and lymph collected in the legs.
  • Cat stretch pose helps in oxygenation of cells by increasing the supply of blood to all the parts of the body.
  • Rejuvenates the functioning of the glands and nervous system
  • Marjariasana helps in maintaining the health of the uterus and ovaries and thus helps in improving the health of the female reproductive system.
  • Due to the inversion, extra nourishment is carried to the face, ears, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs while practicing The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • It strengthens the muscles of the neck, back, and shoulders.
  • One of the benefits of this yoga pose is that it also opens up your rib cage and muscles of the back.
  • Marjariasana improves the alignment of the spine with regular practice.
  • It stimulates your abdominal organs and eases flatulence and acid reflux.
  • The Cat Stretch Pose helps in increasing concentration and memory with regular practice
  • It helps in relieving constipation when practiced regularly.
  • This yoga asana helps relieve you of all the back problems.
  • Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose lengthens your spine and opens your shoulders.
  • The Cat Stretch Pose helps in balancing the mind, increases the power of concentration, allows more awareness of the unconscious realms and induces physical and mental relaxation quickly. The thinking process becomes very clear and precise with regular practice of this asana.
  • It relaxes your mind and prepares you for meditation
  • Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose refreshes and rejuvenates you and also relieves you of stress and mild depression.
  • This yoga pose is beneficial in making your body flexible and tones the core muscle of the body.
  • With regular practice, Marjariasana helps treat varicose veins
  • Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose reduce swollen ankles and legs
  • Regular practice of this pose helps in relieving symptoms of hemorrhoids
  • It also helps in reducing problems with the thyroid, parathyroid, and pituitary glands.
  • One of the benefits of this yoga pose is that it increases the blood flow to the scalp and also help reduce hair fall with regular practice.
  • It also helps in reducing respiratory illnesses with regular practice.

Precautions & Contraindications While Practicing Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose

  • Pregnant females should not practice Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose as it exerts a lot of pressure on the abdomen.
  • Females who are menstruating should also not practice this pose.
  • People who have any issues or pain in their neck or back and have had recent surgery to your neck or back in the recent past should also not practice marjariasana.
  • If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert as it helps to keep away any injuries that can happen through this practice.
  • Do not over exert yourself while practicing The Cat Stretch Pose. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.
  • People suffering from chronic spinal problems should not practice Marjariasana.
  • It is most beneficial when you stay aware of the stretches in the muscles while holding the pose. So, always remain aware while you are practicing this pose.
  • You should not practice this pose if you had a heavy meal.
  • People with Chronic headaches or migraines should not practice this yoga pose
  • It should not be practiced by people suffering from Diarrhea.
  • The Cat Stretch Pose should not be practiced by people with eye ailments like Glaucoma, Near Sightedness, conjunctivitis, Detached Retina, and sinusitis.
  • Marjariasana should not be practiced by people with chronic heart-related issues.
  • It should never be practiced by people suffering from Vertigo.
  • This yoga pose should not be practiced by people with Slipped disc.
  • People with brain injury or any brain diseases should not practice Marjariasana.
  • People with high blood pressure should also not practice this pose.

Tips While Practicing Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose

  • If you feel any sharp shooting pain while practicing Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose, release the pose immediately and lie in Shavasana.
  • When in this pose, if you feel pain in the knees, move your arms slightly forward from the sides to ease the pain.
  • You must prepare your body to practice Marjariasana by doing the preparatory stretches and steps.
  • You should also know your body limits and how much pain and stretch your body can bear if the stretch and pain are too much to bear, come out of the pose immediately and rest in any relaxation poses like Shavasana.
  • Marjariasana is an advanced pose and should be practiced with constant efforts and under the guidance of a trained Yoga Expert.
  • Beginners should not hold Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose for more than a few minutes.
  • You can place a folded blanket or yoga mat under your elbows and forearms to reduce the pressure on your head while practicing The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • If you cannot manage the pose at all, try doing this pose against a wall. This makes it easier to balance and raise your hips without any fear of falling.
  • Advanced practitioners can deepen the pose by bringing their knees and crown of the head as close as you can while in the final pose.
  • Advanced practitioners can hold the pose for longer durations or for as long as they can while practicing Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose.

Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose Variations

There are various variations of Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose possible to increase or decrease the intensity; these variations can be made to the original asana. Everyone practicing variations should first master the original Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose before getting into the variations and advanced variations must be practiced under the guidance of a trained yoga expert.

Marjariasana or the Cat Stretch Pose Variation1:

  • Start with the final Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose position as mentioned above.
  • Then, exhale to take on the counter movement while practicing this variation of The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • Turn your head and focus your eyes on your left hip while practicing this variation of Marjariasana.
  • As you are practicing this variation of this pose, gently move your hip towards your head.
  • Inhale deeply, and return to the start position before you repeat the movement on the other side while practicing this variation.

Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose Variation2:

  • Start with the final Marjariasana or The Cat Stretch Pose position as mentioned above.
  • Then, move your hands forward as you move your hips in circular motions while practicing this variation of The Cat Stretch Pose.
  • While Inhaling, move forward to practice this variation.
  • Exhale deeply and move backwards while practicing this variation of Marjariasana.

Was this article helpful?

Yes No
×

Suggestions to Improve the Article

This article contains incorrect information.

This article does not have the information I am looking for.


I Have a Medical Question.

Ask A Doctor Now

If you are facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest ER or urgent care facility
×

Suggestions to Improve the Article

×

How Did This Article Help?

This Article Did Change My Life!


I Have a Medical Question.

Ask A Doctor Now

If you are facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest ER or urgent care facility
×

Thank you for your feedback.