Cat Cow Pose
Cat Pose, Marjaryasana, and Cow Pose, Bitilasana, are used as a gentle warm up sequence mostly in the beginning of a yoga practice. These to two poses are done together to stretch the body and prepare it for the rest of your yoga practice. The Cat Pose is used to stretch the neck and back torso and focuses on the core. The Cow Pose is used to stretch the neck and the front torso and used as a chest opener.
When done as a sequence or flow, the two poses are used to warm up the body and bring a gentle flexibility to the spine. The combination of these poses softly stimulate and strengthen the abdominal organs (it massages them). It specifically stimulates both the kidneys and the adrenal glands. Doing these poses opens the chest and encourages the breath to become slow and deep, preparing the whole body for the yoga practice ahead. When coordinating the movements of cat and cow with the deep slow breathing, this will begin to relieve stress and calm the mind.
To successfully do cat cow sequence, you want to have your hands and knees on the mat (with your wrist directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips) in table pose. To do cow pose you want to arch your back dropping your belly towards the mat. Lift your head and chin up to gaze at the ceiling, allowing you to open your chest. To transition into cat pose, you want to draw your belly into your spine and round your back (like a cat that you scared and is freaking out) towards the ceiling. Do this while bringing your head down slowly so that the crown of your head is towards the floor (don’t have your chin touch your chest). Combine the motion of both poses with your breathing. So when you inhale transition into cat pose, when you exhale transition into cow pose (or vice versa). Repeat apx 10 times.