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Friday, February 22, 2008

Yoga Exercise - Cat Pose (Bidalasana)

The Cat Yoga Pose teaches you to initiate movement from your center and to coordinate your movement and breath. These are two of the most important themes in Asana practice. The alignment of your center depends on the positioning of your pelvis. Therefore, think of your hip positioning as the center of each pose. This is important because your spine is the most significant line of energy in every pose and because the way your spine elongates from your center depends solely on which way your pelvis is turning. Learn how to perform the Cat Pose in this section.
Start on your hands and knees. Position your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath the hips. Have your fingers fully spread with the middle fingers pointing straight ahead. Make your back horizontal and flat. Gaze at the floor. This is your "neutral" positioning. When your pelvis is in neutral, your spine will be at full extension, with both the front and back sides equally long.

As you wait for the inner cue, do not sag into your shoulders. Instead, create a line of energy through each arm by pressing downward into your hands and lifting upward out of your shoulders. Go back and forth like this several times to make sure you understand the movement. As you exhale, sag into your shoulders and do the incorrect action; as you inhale, lengthen the arms, lift out of the shoulders and do the correct action.

When you are ready to begin, breathe in deeply. As you exhale, turn your hips into Cat Tilt. Do this by gently pulling the abdominal muscles backward toward the spine, tucking the tailbone (coccyx) down and under, and gently contracting the buttocks. Press firmly downward with your hands in order to stay lifted out of the shoulders, and press the middle of your back toward the ceiling, rounding your spine upward. Curl your head inward. Gaze at the floor between your knees.

The Cat Pose loosens your back and spine. It also stretches the front and back of your body and frees your neck and shoulders. Doing the Cat Tilt elongates your back muscles and makes your abdominal muscles contract. Doing the Cat Pose benefits your health by stimulating spinal fluid and the digestive tract, and by improving circulation through the spine and core. It is also beneficial in managing stress.

If you have any difficulty doing this exercise, you may place a folded Yoga Blanket under your knees to protect you from pressure or pain. Caution must be observed if you suffer from any chronic or recent back pain or injury.

Via: www.abc-of-yoga.com

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