Utthita Marjaryasana: Extended Cat Pose

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Utthita marjaryasana (oo-TEE-tah mahr-jahr-YAH-suh-nuh) is great core strengthening pose in preparation for balancing postures.

Philosophy + Origin

In many traditions, cats represent a balance between opposites like dark and light, outer and inner. In extended cat pose opposite sides of the body are asked to find equilibrium. Cats are also known to symbolize patience, healing, and a curiosity to explore the unknown.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Blanket: For tender knees, place a blanket on the ground to add extra cushion.
  • Wrist adjustment: For tender wrists, place your fist on the ground rather than a flat palm.
  • Balance challenge: Lift and extend the corresponding arm and leg rather than the opposite.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in table top pose in the center of your mat, with hips directly over knees and shoulders over wrists.
  2. Keep your gaze down, neck in a neutral position.
  3. Shift your weight to your left hand and slowly extend your right hand forward, thumb toward the ceiling.
  4. Lift your naval up away from the ground and extend your right leg behind you, starting with toes touching the ground.
  5. Gently lift your right toes off the ground, extending the ball mound of your foot behind you.
  6. Draw your shoulder blades down your back and keep your hips level.
  7. Hold for 3-5 breaths then return to table top. Repeat on the other side.

PREPARATORY POSES:

FOLLOW-UP POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Utthita = extended
  • Marjari = cat
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Tones the core.
  • Improves balance.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Improves mental focus.
  • Relieves stress and tension.
  • Tones the solar plexus chakra.

MANTRA:

Anahata Bija

The bija mantra (seed sound) of the heart chakra is YAM. Recite mentally or aloud as many times as you need until you feel your heart beginning to open to more love and the possibility to forgive.

MUDRA: Anjali

Designed to bring two halves together as one, anjali mudra is a powerful way to promote balance in the body and mind while also calming nerves and connecting to the heart center. Bring the palms of your hands together in front of your chest. Press gently through the palms and fingers of the hands.

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