Monday, March 30, 2009

Cat pose meditation with variations

Watch how a cat stretches after a nap, and you’ll understand how this pose got its name. Not only does it stretch and strengthen your spine for sitting, it’s also a great way to start your day. Try rolling out of bed first thing in the morning, limbering up with the Cat pose, doing 10 or 15 minutes of meditation, and then going about your day Here’s how you practice the Cat:
  1. Begin on your hands and knees with your spine horizontal and your arms and thighs perpendicular to the floor (like a four-legged animal).
  2. As you exhale, arch your spine upward slowly like a cat, beginning the stretch at your tailbone. Feel your spine flexing vertebra by vertebra.
  3. At the culmination of the stretch, tuck your chin slightly.
  4. As you inhale, flex your spine downward, beginning with your tailbone and lifting your head slightly at the end of the stretch.
  5. Continue to breathe and stretch in this way for 10 to 15 breaths.
You can also do two variations of the preceding Cat pose, as follows:
  • Variation 1: From the four-legged position (Step 1), gently turn your head on an exhalation and look at your left hip, as you simultaneously move your hip toward your head. Inhale and come back to center and repeat to the other side. Continue for 10 to 15 breaths.
  • Variation 2: From the four-legged position (Step 1), move your hands slightly forward of perpendicular and draw broad circles with your hips, moving forward as you inhale and backward as you exhale. Continue for 10 to 15 breaths.

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