Marjariasana (Cat Stretch Pose): How to Do It, Its Benefits, and Contraindications

Marjariasana, commonly known as the Cat Stretch Pose, is a dynamic asana that involves the spine’s rhythmic movement, resembling the stretching of a cat. It is a simple yet effective posture that helps improve spinal flexibility and strengthens the core muscles. This pose is suitable for practitioners of all levels and is often used as a warm-up exercise in yoga sequences.

How to Do Marjariasana

  1. Starting Position: Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, ensuring your wrists are directly under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Spread your fingers wide, and press firmly through your palms.
  2. Inhaling – Cow Pose: As you inhale, arch your back, lowering your abdomen towards the floor, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling. This is often paired with the Cow Pose, creating a gentle flow between the two movements.
  3. Exhaling – Cat Pose: As you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling, tucking your tailbone in, and bring your chin towards your chest, creating the shape of an angry cat.
  4. Flowing Between Poses: Continue to flow smoothly between the Cow Pose (inhale) and the Cat Pose (exhale), synchronizing your movements with your breath for several cycles.

Benefits of Marjariasana

  • Improves Spinal Flexibility: The rhythmic movement helps in increasing the spine’s flexibility and relieving tension in the back.
  • Strengthens Core Muscles: Engaging the abdomen during the pose strengthens the core muscles, improving posture and stability.
  • Stimulates Digestive System: The alternate stretching and contracting of the abdomen stimulate the digestive organs, aiding in digestion.
  • Relieves Stress: The concentration required for this pose and the gentle stretching helps in relieving stress and calming the mind.
  • Enhances Blood Circulation: The movement enhances blood circulation, especially around the spine and neck.


  • Neck Injury: If you have a neck injury, keep your head in line with your torso instead of lifting or dropping it.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women should consult a healthcare provider before performing this pose, especially in the later stages.
  • Severe Back Pain: Those with severe back pain should approach this pose with caution and possibly under the guidance of a yoga instructor.

Modifications and Tips

  • Knee Comfort: Place a folded blanket under your knees if you have sensitive knees or are practicing on a hard surface.
  • Focus on Breath: Use the pose to connect deeply with your breath, enhancing the relaxation and stretching benefits.
  • Limitations: Respect your body’s limitations and do not overstretch. The goal is fluidity and comfort, not strain.


Marjariasana offers a gentle yet powerful way to warm up the body, improve spinal health, and prepare for more intense yoga practices. Its simplicity, combined with the profound benefits it offers, makes it a favorite among yoga practitioners. By incorporating Marjariasana into your daily routine, you can enjoy increased flexibility, a stronger core, and a calm, focused mind.

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