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  • Writer's pictureVincent Brown

Cat, Cow, & Neutral Table Tutorial


Tiger Pose from neutral Table Yoga
An elegant variation of Table - Tiger Pose

We are 11 days in today, and if you've been keeping pace with the classes you may be starting to feel a little beat up, it may be mental or physical or both. This is usually around when we start to run out of that forward momentum and hit a wall.


So we're going to explore a trio of poses that flow beautifully together and that make for the most amazing 5 minute start or end to any day: Cat Pose (Marjaryasana), Cow Pose (Bitilasana), and Neutral Tabletop. These poses are the bread and butter of any yoga practice, offering a gentle warm-up for the spine and helping to synchronize movement with breath. As T.K.V. Desikachar said, “The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings.” Let’s use these poses to tune into our breath, set the tone for our practice, and our day.



Neutral Tabletop:


How to Execute:

  1. Return to the tabletop position with a flat back.

  2. Ensure your wrists are under your shoulders and knees under your hips.

  3. Engage your core slightly to maintain a neutral spine.

  4. Use this pose to find balance and stability between Cat and Cow.

Benefits:

  • Creates a stable foundation for movement.

  • Strengthens the core muscles.

  • Helps in maintaining spinal alignment.


Cow Pose (Bitilasana):


How to Execute:

  1. From tabletop, as you inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest towards the ceiling.

  2. Allow your belly to sink towards the floor.

  3. Lift your head to look straight forward or slightly upward.

  4. Create a gentle curve in your lower back.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the front torso and neck.

  • Promotes flexibility in the spine.

  • Stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands.


Cat Pose (Marjaryasana):


How to Execute:

  1. Start in a tabletop position, with your wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.

  2. As you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling, tucking your chin to your chest.

  3. Draw your belly button up towards your spine.

  4. Feel the stretch across your back and the release of tension in your neck and spine.

Benefits:

  • Gently stretches the back and neck.

  • Provides a massage to the spine and belly organs.

  • Relieves stress and calms the mind.



I do this at least once a day, at home. You should too.


These three poses can change your day and life. A few minutes a day let's you really maintain spine mobility and health. I recommend you try to sync your inhale so that as you sip in that breath it fills your lungs at the peak of cow. Pause a moment and then control the exhale and try to sync emptying your lungs with peaking cat pose. It's a beautiful way to marry breath to movement, and still clear the mind.

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