I've always loved the cat posture because of the way it combines utter simplicity and ease with profound results. It's just about the best back toner you'll come across, and if you can get it right, you can use it as a tool for clearing emotional blocks stored all along the spine.
And there's even more... and if you can get that right, you can use it as an aid to bringing vibrant clarity to your consciousness in meditation... Read on for all the details!
How to do the cat posture
Essentially this posture is a flowing sequence consisting of two wavelike movements along the spine. One flow hollows the back while the other arches it.
By practising this posture we gain awareness of the vertebrae along the length of our spine, and areas of stiffness become more flexible and mobile.
Start on all fours, with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.On an exhalation lightly contract the pelvic floor and other core muscles.
Begin to hollow the back, starting from the lowest lumbar area and moving slowly upwards with awareness of the segmental movement of the spine, vertebra by vertebra. As you reach the mid thoracic area allow your chest to open and to expand, while being careful not to exaggerate the curve in your lumbar spine. The head rises last of all.
|You are now ready to begin the second flow, which reverses this position. Take your attention to the lumbar spine and arch the back, drawing the abdominal muscles in. As before, the movement is segmental, working each vertebra as the wave rises towards the top of the neck. The head remains the last part to move, flexing forward only when the ripple reaches the upper thoracic and neck vertebrae.|
Once you are confident that you have established the sequence of movements, incorporate the breathing as follows:
Well, that's the basic physical idea.
Simply doing the posture in this way will bring immense health benefits to your back, and all the systems in your body that depend on a healthy back - your breathing, veinous return, digestive functions and so much more.
Transforming your emotional balance
We can take the posture so much further, however. In the yogic tradition, emotional blocks are stored along your spine like old memories in a filing cabinet. Perhaps you've noticed that parts of your spine move together? Or even seem stuck together? These are potential indicators of an old emotional memory stored in your body, creating an energy block in your spine.
Since your emotional body and physical body are linked, changing one changes the other... so using Marjariasana to restore ease of movement to each individual segment of your spine helps you to clear the stuck emotional energy of these old emotions. Effortlessly and easily.
This is one of the reasons why people who do yoga tend to smile more than most!
Transforming your meditation
But wait, there's more!
As you get better and better at moving each part of your spine, you'll find that you can take your awareness up and down your spine with increasing precision. You might like to try it in various different ways:
- Try taking your awareness along the spine, vertebra by vertebra from base to top as you curl upwards. And then again as you curl downwards.
- Try adding some visualisations from the pranic level - a colour, a sound, a warmth or a light. Try infusing each vertebra with this quality, progressively from base to top, with each movement of the cat.
As you do this over a period of months, it's very likely that you'll find some significant reactive patterns in your life disappearing. Your mind is very likely to be subtely yet profoundly freer. And if you are a meditator, you're likely to be able to settle into a wonderfully rejuvenating stillness with greater ease.
Thus the power of yoga!
We'll be adding more to this as the months go by, so stay tuned! In the meantime, you might like to try out some Dru sequences or check out some of the Cat posture videos on the Dru Yoga online studio.