Cat Pose (Marjariasana) | Keep Your Abs Toned and Your Shoulders Strong

The practice of yoga promotes peace within the mind and body. Yoga incorporates various techniques that focus on breathing and posture. One of the most important poses incorporated in most yoga routines is the Cat Pose.

Cat Pose (Marjariasana)

Derived from the Sanskrit word, Marjariasana, ‘Marjari’ means cat and ‘Asana’ means posture or pose. An excellent pose that promotes the strengthening and toning of various muscles, cat pose incorporates a feline-like stretch during the warm-up phase of the yoga routine.

Cat Pose Directions:

If you’re looking to build strong abs, cat pose is a good technique to start with. Get ready to strengthen your core and tone those muscles by following the steps below.

Step 1:

Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are placed directly below your hips and your wrists, and your elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position with your eyes looking at the floor.

Step 2:

As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.

Step 3:

As you inhale, come back to the neutral “tabletop” position on your hands and knees.

Muscles Engaged: Abdominal muscles, biceps, triceps, back, neck.

Cat Pose Variations:

Variation 1:


Modification: If you experience any discomfort or pain in your wrists, perform cat pose with your elbows on the floor and under your shoulders, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.

Variation 2:


Modification: If you experience neck pain when looking towards the ceiling, allow your gaze to only look forward when you inhale.

Variation 3:

Sensitive knees

Modification: If you have sensitive knees, place a folded blanket under your knees for added comfort.

Variation 4:

If you have difficulty rounding the very top of the upper back, ask a friend to lay a hand just above and between the shoulder blades to help you activate this area.

Benefits of Cat Pose :

Cat pose comes with many added benefits to the mind and body. By regular practice of this pose, you can give your body a good stretch and boost flexibility to the spine.

Some of the added benefits of cat pose include:

  • Brings flexibility to the spine
  • Strengthens wrists and shoulders
  • Massages the digestive organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Tones the abdomen
  • Relaxes the mind
  • Improves blood circulation

Cat pose is recommended for those suffering from:

  • Backaches
  • Neck pain
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia

Cat Pose Precautions:

Just like many other forms of exercise, it is important to take certain precautions and consult your doctor to confirm if you are able to carry out certain fitness routines.

 It is recommended to avoid cat pose if you suffer from:

  • Knee problems
  • Chronic or recent back pain, injury
  • Recent surgery
  • Chronic or recent wrist pain or injury
  • Chronic or recent neck pain or injury

Cat Pose Follow-Up Poses:

After more strenuous yoga poses, complete your workout with the downward-facing dog.

Quick FAQs

1. How can one practice the cat pose?

By following the simple steps listed above, learn how to perform the cat pose with comfort and ease.

Updated by Siya Rajan on 06/01/2018

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