How To Do The Marjariasana And What Are Its Benefits

Written by , BA Shirin Mehdi BA linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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Marjariasana or cat pose is an asana where Marjari = Cat, Asana = Posture or Pose. Pronounced as mar-jar-ee-ahh-sanna.

It’s true! Even cats can inspire our yoga lessons. Marjariasana, also called the cat stretch, gives the body an amazing feline stretch. One can never imagine how satisfying and beneficial a cat stretch can be.

Everything You Need To Know About Marjariasana

  1. What You Should Know Before You Do The Marjariasana
  2. How To Do The Marjariasana
  3. Precautions And Contraindications
  4. Beginner’s Tips
  5. Advanced Pose Alterations
  6. The Benefits Of Marjariasana
  7. The Science Behind Marjariasana
  8. Preparatory Poses
  9. Follow-Up Poses

What You Should Know Before You Do The Marjariasana

As with all the asanas in yoga, it is important to keep your bowels and stomach absolutely clean. Make sure you have your meals at least four to six hours before your workout so that you give your system enough time to digest the food, and give out the necessary energy for the workout. The best time to practice yoga is usually in the mornings, but in case you cannot make it, evenings are a good time too.

Level: Basic
Style: Ashtanga Yoga
Duration: 10 seconds for each pose
Repetition: 5 to 6 times in each pose
Strengthens: Wrist, Shoulders, Spine
Stretches: Neck, Back torso

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How To Do Cat Pose (Marjariasana)

1. Stand on all fours, such that your back forms a table top and your feet and hands from its legs.

2. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor, and your hands should be placed flat on the floor, right under your shoulders. Your knees should be placed hip-width apart.

3. Look straight ahead.

4. Inhale and raise your chin as you tilt your head backwards. Push your navel down and raise your tailbone. Compress your buttocks. You might feel a tingling sensation.

5. Hold the pose for a few breaths. Breathe long and deep.

6. This asana is a combination of two movements. The countermovement is as follows: Exhale and drop your chin to your chest as you arch your back and relax your buttocks.

7. Hold this position for a few breaths. Then, go back to the tabletop position.

8. Do the movement and countermovement about five to six times before you come to a halt.

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Precautions And Contraindications

If you have any back or neck problems, it is best to consult a doctor before you indulge in the cat pose. Even if your doctors give you a clean chit, make sure you practice this asana under the guidance of a certified yoga teacher if you suffer from back and neck problems.

If you are suffering from a certain head injury, make sure that you keep your head in line with your torso.

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Beginner’s Tip

The cat pose yoga is fairly a simple pose. But in the event you find it hard to round the top of your upper back, you could ask a friend or your instructor to help you out. Ask them to place their hand between and above the shoulder blades so that it can help activate that region.

It might be a good idea to start off the practice with the preparatory poses so that your muscles are flexed enough by the time you come to this asana.

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Advanced Pose Alterations

To increase the intensity, these variations can be made to the original asana. But for that, you need to master the basics. And, you should venture into advancing the pose only under the supervision of your instructor.

First Variation

1. Start with the tabletop position.

2. Then, exhale to take on the countermovement, and turn your head and focus your eyes on your left hip.

3. As you do this, gently move your hip towards your head. Inhale, and return to the start position before you repeat the movement on the other side.

Second Variation

1. Begin with the tabletop position.

2. Then, move your hands forward as you move your hips in circular motions.

3. Inhale and move forward, then exhale and move backwards.

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The Benefits Of Marjariasana

There are many amazing benefits of this simple, yet essential yoga posture.

1. It stretches, strengthens, and adds flexibility to the spine.

2. Both your shoulders and wrists will be strengthened.

3. The digestive organs are massaged and activated, and therefore, the process is improved.

4. This asana helps to tone the abdomen while getting rid of unnecessary pockets of fat, slowly but surely.

5. Being on your fours also improves the circulation of both blood and oxygen in your body.

6. The stretching relaxes the mind and removes all the stress and strain.

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The Science Behind Marjariasana

The Marjariasana is a movement that combines forward bends with back arches, giving your back the complete movement it needs. Thus, your vertebrae become mobile, and the movements in your cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine release all the tension trapped in them.

The back and forth movements help in circulation of the spinal fluids that also help strengthen the spine.

The movements also work on your digestive system and enhance the working of the digestive organs while completely detoxifying the system.

The muscles in your limbs are activated, and this gives them the strength and energy to work better.

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Preparatory Poses

1. Bālāsana
2. Garudasana

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Follow-Up Poses


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The world is an inspiring place, and we might be the most advanced species. But sometimes, it is a good idea to look around and learn from everything around us. A cat stretch pose can do wonderful things for your body. All thanks to the observant yogi who watched a cat, interpreted its movements, and instituted this asana.

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Shirin Mehdi
Shirin MehdiHealth & Wellness Writer
Shirin is a health and wellness writer with three years of experience and specializes in writing articles on yoga and has extensive knowledge about the postures of the asanas. Prior to joining Stylecraze, she interned with an advertising firm as a copywriter and as an editorial intern for a luxury fashion magazine.

Read full bio of Shirin Mehdi