Saturday, January 06, 2007

Yoga 3, Cat and Cow, for Heart, Mind and Body

Here’s a wonderful pose, one of the few in yoga where movement is actually part of the posture. It’s called Beetle Asana, at least that’s how it sounds, and has the remarkably useful English name of The Cat and the Cow.

1) For starters. Come to your hands and knees. Do this the normal mindless way, and then, hmmm, what would it be like to do it with awareness? Just how do your hands feel on the floor or Earth, and your knees? Are your feet flat to the ground or do you have your toes bent, in what they call the “for running” shape? Where are you looking? How does your spine feel? Are your hips over your knees, your shoulders over your hands? Fool around, play around, shift around, find what feels right for you today.

2) Breathe easily. Notice your breathing. Notice a happiness in breathing. See if there is any way that this simple act, the act of breathing can be easier and more pleasurable for you.

3) Now begin to arch your back and push out your belly as you breathe in. As you do this, lift your butt toward the sky, by tilting your pelvis so that your tailbone, too, is lifting. Do this each time you breath in, let yourself push forward with your belly, arch your back and tilt your butt to the sky. On the out breath, just come to “normal,” whatever that is.
Cow, belly down, ready to Moooo

4) Now try the opposite. As you breathe out, pull up your navel, lift the middle of your back toward the sky and tilt your tailbone under, as if you are going to tilt the front of your pelvis ( your sex) toward your face. Look down as you do this, so you are becoming nicely folded, with the center of your back being the high point of the curving you. This is the cat.

Cat, belly in, ready to hiss and ???strike

5) Alternate cat, with belly pulled in and back toward the sky, and cow, with the belly pushed forward and back arching so that shoulders and butt are the high points. Notice the tilting of your pelvis as you do this, and allow your head to come up when your butt comes up (the cow gives a big Mooooo), and allow your head to come down, looking between your legs when your pelvis tilts the other way.

6) Rest on your back and feel how you feel in your whole self. Notice your spine. Notice your breathing. Once again concentrate on being present and the happiness that comes from simple being at the moment with yourself.

7) Come back to hands and knees and begin to oscillate once again, cat and cow, belly in / belly out, face toward the pelvis / back of head toward the bottom. And try this variation: as you push your belly out and arch into the cow, breathe out. And as you pull your belly in and fold into the hissing cat, let your breathe in. Where does in the in breath go, if it can’t go into your belly? Discover. Go slow. Do this enough so you can enjoy the pushing out of the belly as you push your breath out. Again, allow your awareness to be on the happiness of being alive and moving with a feeling of pleasure and attention to yourself. Smile. Notice the shifting shape of your vertebrae. Notice the air coming in and out. Notice what you are seeing and hearing. Enjoy. Put intention on enjoyment as you move slowly and with awareness and curiosity.

8) Smile.

(Note. The essays are rotating through the three blogs, more or less one per day.
So you might want to check:

Tai Chi Yoga Health Weight Loss Joy
Life on Earth ::: Slow Sonoma
for the last two essays.)

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