Sunday, 30 October 2016

Warming up: Cat/Cow with Lunge Variation

In today's warming up sequence we will use several of the poses we learned in Part One of this series:

Child's Pose (Balasana)
Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana).

While you're learning the sequence, remember to focus more on breathing evenly, in and out through the nose.  As the sequence becomes more familiar to you it will be easier to practice each step on an inhalation or exhalation.

I will walk you through the steps first, and then there is a video so you can see it in action.

We begin on all fours, in the table-top position, with knees below the hips and wrists below the shoulders.  Our spine is neutral and we are looking down.

On the inhale, slowly lift the tail bone towards the ceiling, and lift and open through the chest, coming into Cow Pose.

On the exhale, round the spine towards the ceiling and release the head towards the floor to come into Cat Pose.

Do this a few times, on the breath.  Inhale, Cow Pose, exhale, Cat Pose.

Then inhale into Cow Pose, and on the exhale, look back over your right shoulder.  Hold here for the next inhale, and on the exhale release the head towards the floor and come back into Cat Pose.

Repeat this on the other side.  Inhale into Cow Pose, exhale and look over the left shoulder.  Hold for an inhale and on the exhale release back into Cat Pose.

To further warm the body we can add a leg movement to the sequence.

As we inhale and come into Cow Pose we lift a leg.

As we exhale into Cat Pose we draw the knee into the chest.

Inhale and lift.

Then on the exhale return the knee to the mat and come into Cat Pose.

Repeat this a few times on each side, energising the body.  Inhale and lift, exhale and tuck, inhale and lift, return to Cat Pose.

Next we will add our low lunge to the sequence.

On the inhale we lift the leg in Cow Pose and on the exhale we step the leg through coming into a low lunge.  Find your alignment here and then on an inhale lift the chest, opening the heart, bringing the arms out wide, stretching through the fingertips.  Hold here for a few breaths then step the leg back to return to the table top position and repeat on the other side.

Inhale and lift, exhale step forward, inhale open the heart.

To complete the sequence lower the bottom onto your heels and come into extended Child's Pose.

You can find a video of the sequence here.

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