Classic Yoga

Marjari Asana | Bidalasana | Bitilasana | Cat and Cow Pose

Introduction

Marjari Asana is a prone kneeling yoga pose. We could not find any documentation for this pose in Medieval classic yoga texts. Hence, I am opting to call it a modern yoga pose. It is a simple yoga pose yet it gives many health benefits.

Yet, Srittavanidhi, the treatise on iconography and iconometry of south Indian deities published in the 19th century, give instructions for Marjarottanasana, an upside-down cat pose. Moreover, Hatha Ratnavali, the seventeenth-century yoga text describes a similar asana Vyahrasana (Tiger Pose).

More often, the pose is called Bidalasana which also means a Cat Pose. Besides, there exists a dynamic sequence of Bidalasana and Bitilasana (Cow Pose) which is popularly known as the Cat and Cow Pose dynamic sequence. As the name implies, the Cat and Cow stretch includes two poses: Cat Pose and Cow Pose.

This article gives a complete account of Marjariasana or Bidalasana along with the dynamic Cat and Cow Pose stretch.

Marjari Asana, Bidalasana, and Bitilasana Information

Pose NameMarjari Asana
Bidalasana
Bitilasana
Sanskrit Nameमार्जरीआसन
बिडालासन
बितिलासन
IASTmārjarīāsana
biḍālāsana
bitilāsana
English NameCat PoseCow Pose
Origin Modern Modern
Difficulty LevelEasyEasy
Type Prone Kneeling Yoga PoseProne Kneeling Yoga Pose

Marjari Asana Meaning

मार्जरी (mārjarī) in Sanskrit means a Cat and आसन (Asana) is a yoga pose. It resembles the posture of a cat on its four legs. Hence the name Cat Pose.

Bidalasana Meaning

बिडाल (biḍāl) in Sanskrit also means a Cat. Marjariasana and Bidalasana are synonyms and represent the same yoga pose.

Bitilasana Meaning

Likewise, बितिलासन (bitilāsana) is Cow Pose. This pose looks similar to a standing cow. Hence it gets this name.

Cat and Cow Pose Procedure

Both Cap Pose and Cow Pose are normally performed together. It forms a dynamic yoga stretch and often called Cat and Cow Pose Stretch. That said, this dynamic exercise includes the steps of both Bidalasana (Marjariasana) and Bitilasana.

Precautions and Contraindications

It is a safe yoga pose for pregnant ladies during the first trimester and many yoga schools are of the same view. However, pregnant ladies should consult their doctors before starting this practice. It is better to avoid this posture during the third trimester.

Though this posture is helpful for having a healthy spine, people having issues with their spine should seek the advice of competent yoga personnel or a medical practitioner.

Also, it is contraindicated in health conditions like hernia, knee-joint disorders, shoulder issues, and neck issues.

Preparatory Poses

As anyone can easily master this pose without much effort, it does not require any preparatory pose.

How to Do Cat and Cow Pose

As we have already seen, the steps of Cat and Cow Pose includes the steps of Marjariasana (Bidalasana) and Bitilasana.

Marjari Asana Steps | Bidalasana Steps

Step 1

Assume Thunderbolt Pose. Ensure your breathing is normal. Stand on the kneels.

Step 2

Lean forward and place your palms on the floor so that your arms and thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Ensure that there is a slight gap between the knees.

Step 3

Exhale and lower the head, contract the abdomen, and stretch the spine upward. Thighs and arms should be vertical throughout the pose. Hold the breath for a comfortable duration.

Bitilasana Steps

Step 4

Inhale deeply and raise the head. Simultaneously lower the abdomen so that the spine becomes concave and the lung fills the maximum air. Hold the breath for a comfortable duration.

Step 5

Repeat the steps 3 and step 4 for the desired number of rounds.

Duration

A beginner can perform five to six rounds initially; whereas an adept can for 12 to 15 rounds.

Follow Up Poses

As each of the two poses is a counter-pose to each other, this stretch requires no other follow up pose. Even so, Corpse Pose after the exercise is mandatory.

Marjari Asana Benefits | Cat and Cow Pose Benefits

The benefits of this dynamic yoga exercise includes the following.

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