You can perform magic on your vertebrate with Cat pose by following the step-by-step practice below.
Part 1: Preparation for Bidalasana
The cat pose is known as a warm-up posture for all sorts of deep backbends and core balance postures. But if you’re a beginner, you may want to start your practice with the below muscle awakening movements for better blood circulation throughout your body.
1. Wrist Circles - Start drawing circles from your hands and wrist. Keep the movement clockwise at first for 10 to 20 rounds, then repeat the same in a counter-clockwise direction.
This dynamic movement will activate your wrist joints by increasing their range of motion. After this, your hands will be able to bear your body weight for a prolonged duration in the cat stretch.
2. Neck Circles - This warm-up will help release any tension in your neck muscles, plus it will help minimize any tightness in your traps. Simply start with your back and spine in a neutral position and move your neck clockwise.
First, bring your right ear close to your right shoulder, then gently bring your head forward, dropping your chin close to the chest. Finally, roll your head to the left shoulder and get back to neutral. Gently repeat these neck rolls for ten rounds, and then move your neck in a counter-clockwise direction.
3. Ankle Circles - Stand close to a wall and keep your hands by your waist for this dynamic warm-up movement. Start making circles with your ankle joints and toes in a clockwise direction for 10 to 20 rounds. Repeat the same in a counter-clockwise direction as well.
This movement will activate blood circulation in your legs and your ankle joints, increasing your range of motion, which prevents you from injury during the main practice.
Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Bidalasana
The following are steps to practice Bidalasana:
Step 1- Place your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet flat on the mat.
Step 2- Align your hands slightly in front of your shoulders, your knees slightly behind your hips, and your index fingers pressed into the mat (as if you’re gripping the ground).
Step 3- Keep your neck, spine, and shoulder aligned in a straight line and inhale deeply.
Step 4- Now, perform an elongated exhale, press down through your hands and strengthen your arms, pushing the mat away from you and creating a strong convex curve in your spine.
Step 5- Try to gaze at your navel while holding this pose for a few breaths.
Inhale - While holding the tabletop position with a neutral spine.
Exhale - As you press your core tight and pull your upper back towards the ceiling.
Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold Bidalasana for 30 to 60 seconds.
Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold Bidalasana for 1 to 3 minutes.
Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind
Becoming more aware of your body posture is an essential aspect of performing any yoga asana. In order to keep you safe from injuries, make sure to follow these cues as you begin the cat stretch.
Keep your core engaged - Loose muscles in your core area can cause injury around the tailbone. That’s why it’s better to hold your core tight and pull your navel close to your spine as you inhale. If you start to feel a gentle burning sensation in your abdomen after a few minutes, your core muscles are now activated.
Be mindful - If you are not conscious of your breathing and movement, then you won’t be able to fully reap the benefits of Bidalasana practice. Cat pose demands an elevated connection between your breath and your movement. Be gentle with your movement and mindful as you breathe in the cat stretch.
Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Bidalasana
After a long practice of the cat pose, it’s important to relax your back and upper body muscles.
The following are a few counter postures to relax your spine and return to its natural shape:
1. Bitilasana (Cow Pose) - Continue the cat pose and flex your spine in the opposite direction as you inhale. In the cow stretch, your navel moves close to the ground, your gaze is upwards, and your tailbone is upright toward the ceiling.
Cow Pose is a counter posture for cat pose, and both of these postures are performed alternatively for a deeper activation of spine muscles in Chakravakasana.
2. Balasana (Child's Pose) - Gently move your hips backward and sit onto your legs from the tabletop position.
Gently relax your shoulders, neck, and spine. Exhale and extend your upper body in front of you and rest your belly in between your thighs and your forehead on the floor.
3. Uttana Shisosana (Extended Puppy Pose) - Continue this pose from Child’s Pose to find a deeper relaxation in your spinal column. To get into this pose, exhale deeply as you completely move your chest close to the mat.
Now, lift your glutes upright toward the ceiling and hold the pose here. This counter pose is extremely effective in relaxing your shoulders and tailbone area.