Shammi's Yogalaya

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Marjarasana (Cat – Cow Pose)

Method

Step 1: Assume kneeling position (both the palms and knees on the floor); palms are in line with the shoulders; knees are in line with the thighs; toes are stretching out.

Step 2: Exhale and suck your abdomen a little in; inhale and start stretching from your navel (which is slightly tucked in), move to your chest; raise your chest up and out so that it is facing the sky; raise your chin up; the areas from navel to the crown of the head should be stretched in one line; stretch the back of the neck and gradually drop your head at the back; look at your forehead; aim is to lengthen the spine; as you begin this forward stretch in front of your torso, also simultaneously throw your hips at the back so that opposing forces are active; your spine is in a little concave position; hold the position for 10 seconds or as per your comfort with normal breathing.

Step 3: Exhale and while exhaling, tuck your tummy in (you are pushing your abdomen into your pelvis) and simultaneously start curving/hunching your upper back; get your head in while you are trying to rest the chin close to the chest (try that your head crosses your shoulders and goes in towards your chest); hold the posture for 10 seconds or as per your comfort with normal breathing; repeat the sequence for 10 rounds.

Step 4: Relax in Shashankasana/Child pose

Step 5: Variation-2 – Assume kneeling position (both the palms and knees on the floor); palms are in line with the shoulders; knees are in line with the thighs; toes are stretching out. Inhale and while inhaling, turn your head to the right and look at your right toe; hold that position for few seconds with normal breathing; exhale and while exhaling, move your head in the middle; inhale again and while inhaling, this time turn your head to the left looking at your left toe for few count with normal breathing; exhale and move your head in the middle; repeat for 5-10 counts and relax in Shashankasana.

Step 6: Yet another variation – Assume kneeling position (both the palms and knees on the floor); palms are in line with the shoulders; knees are in line with the thighs; toes are stretching out. Move your left hand in the middle on the floor (close to your right palm); Inhale and while inhaling, raise your right hand up in the air and look at your right thumb; your left palm is firm on the floor and pushing against your left shoulder; lengthen your arms and your upper back and turn upper part of your body to the right; hold this position for few seconds with normal breathing; exhale and while exhaling, get your right palm on the floor; repeat the same sequence with the left hand; continue to do for 5 – 10 rounds and relax in Shashankasana / Child Pose.

Benefits

  • Stimulates and gives good massage to lower back; stimulates pancreas & liver; cleanses nasal passage. It tones abdominal muscles, improves digestion and metabolism as in this posture more bile secretion from liver takes place.
  • Strengthens Spine, neck and improves posture – builds your body’s resistance against slipped disc, sciatica, spondylitis and other spinal, hip, and neck related ailments.
  • This asana gives good stretch to reproductive organ thereby synthesizing hormonal secretion thereby this posture is recommended during premenstrual cycle as well as menstrual flow.  It is also very effective for menstrual disorders and pain during periods. Uterus move out problem can be cured by this asana.
  • Beneficial for asthmatic patients as strengthens the lungs.
  • In teenagers, it further accelerates the growth in height.

Contraindications

  • Avoid in case of severe backache & blocked nostrils. Also be careful in case of vertigo and high BP.
  • Persons with knee injury should take some cushioning or avoid this asana
  • Hypertension and heart patients should practice it slowly – not more than 2-3 times.
    Persons with cervical spondylitis need to be careful with head movement
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