Good morning Yogis! We are beginning our cycle through the Yoga Sutras, and starting with the first of the Yamas – Ahimsa or non-harming. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, I thought it would be fun to feature a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Cat / Cow or Marjaryasana (Mahr-jar-ee-AH-sa-nuh) / Bitilasana (Bih-Ti-LA-sa-nuh) is my choice to represent Ahimsa, since this series is a great opening series to help avoid injury, by gently opening and warming up the back at the beginning Asana practice!
We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Ahimsa Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class.
I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner Combination (30 Minute), which includes a cat/cow opening!
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try some Cat/Cows for Ahimsa Day! This is a common opening pose series for all levels Yogis and all styles of Yoga. We will talk about how to get into both variations from Table Top or Bharmanasana today! Start in Table Top – with hands directly under shoulders, and knees directly under hips.
Marjaryasana – Cat Pose
Feet & Legs – Start in Bharmanasana / Table Top or Bitilasana / Cow, with tops of feet laying on the mat. Your legs should stay hip-distance apart in table top. You will keep both knees and feet grounded on the mat in table top through both Asanas / poses!
Hips – Turn your tailbone under and bring your hips forward on an exhale to come into Marjaryasana / Cat from Bharmanasana / Table Top or Bitilasana / Cow.
Torso – On the exhale, you will curl your spine and get as much of a rounding in your back as possible in this pose.
Arms – On the exhale, press your palms into the mat as you curve your back, pressing the mat away from you.
Head and Neck – Curl your head and neck under in line with the rest of your spine, and gaze back at your thighs.
Bitilasana – Cow Pose
Feet and Legs – Start in Bharmanasana / Table Top or Marjaryasana / Cat, with tops of feet laying on the mat. Your legs should stay hip distance apart in table top. You will keep both knees and feet grounded on the mat in table top through both Asanas / poses!
Hips – Turn your tailbone up and stick your booty out on the inhale to come into Bitilasana / Cow from Bharmanasana / Table Top or Marjaryasana / Cat.
Torso – On the inhale, you will drop your belly and get as much of a chest opener and curve in the back as comfortable.
Arms – On the inhale, pull back on the mat with your hands to pull your torso forward for more of a chest opening.
Head and Neck – Pull head and neck up and forward from Bharmanasana / Table Top or Marjaryasana / Cat, gazing straight ahead.
Come into Bitilasana / Cow on inhales, and Marjaryasana / Cat on exhales. Repeat a few times. I recommend this series to stretch and warm up the spine and torso at the beginning of Asana practice!
PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!
Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Cat / Cow before? Always remember, be kind!