Cat Pose

Tracey Kelley
cat pose in yoga

Cat pose, or Marjaryasana, is sometimes paired with cow pose for an easy, rhythmic asana flow. In Sanskrit, marjari is the word for "cat". Imagine how a cat rises up, arching the back in a full stretch. Every muscle and organ is stimulated in that movement, and that's how you'll feel after you perform the cat pose.

Health Benefits of Marjaryasana

Benefits of the posture include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Release of the spine and internal organs
  • Stretching of the neck, back, and torso

Step Into the Cat Pose

To perform cat pose:

  1. Position yourself on all fours, hands and knees in alignment with the hips and shoulders. Your back should be flat, with the stomach firm.
  2. Straighten the neck and head as you look toward the floor.
  3. Take a centering breath. Then, on the exhale, arch your back by tucking in the stomach and drawing the chin down to the chest.
  4. Breathe, then on your next inhale, return to the flat back or tabletop position.
  5. Repeat as often as you like.

This pose is often performed in conjunction with cow pose, which some instructors might also call cat lift. Feel free to combine the two postures by moving into cow pose instead of returning to tabletop.

Tips for Beginning Yoga Enthusiasts

If you have a stiff neck, keep the head and torso aligned. Arch the back as is comfortable for you. Some may have a less flexible upper back. If so, an instructor can help you with this area by laying a palm between your shoulder blades.

Cat Pose