This post will break down these poses: All Fours, Crouching Cat, Twisted Cat, Back Cat, Side Coil, & Side Chair.
All Fours Pose
Bright hands cup the floor, fingers grip, domed middle of the palm.
Externally rotate the elbows forward so that the ‘elbow armpits’ face inward toward each other. Shoulders stack over top of wrists.
Hands press strong down and away from the mat to broaden through the shoulders, creating a circumferentially open, radiant heart and rib space.
Hands energetically pull back toward knees to reach ribs more forward.
Chin stays lifted, throat stays open. Head reaches forward, in line with the wrists. Gaze is slightly ahead of the fingertips.
Knees stack underneath hips. Knees press down, forward and energetically outward to lift glutes upward. Hips energetically move back, creating ultimate space between rib cage//heart and hips.
‘Hero’ the feet: dig drag the top paw to subtly hollow the ankle. Press the ‘top paw’ (top of the foot) down and drag it back toward the knee to hollow the ankle. This creates a connected engagement in the whole posterior chain.
The most basic Bowspring pose, accentuating a curvy posture, a double ‘S’ curve down the back line of the body from the head to the hips. A fully engaged, vibrant pose that’s shape is found in all other Bowspring postures.
Hands touch down as wide as the mat. Bright hands cup the floor, fingers grip, domed middle of the palm.
Externally rotate elbows forward, elbow armpits face inward toward each other, slight bend in the elbow to prevent hyper extension, as well as to align shoulders correctly. Shoulders stack over top of wrists.
Hands press strong down into the mat to broaden through the shoulders, creating a circumfrentially open, radiant heart and rib space. A little chin tuck to fully round into the scruff of the upper back is nice to find full capacity of radiance in the back heart, realign the head by lifting the chin back up.
Hands energetically pull back toward knees to reach ribs more forward.
Chin stays lifted, throat stays open. Head reaches forward, in line with the wrists. More plank like position. Gaze is in line or slightly ahead of the fingertips.
Crouching feet, paws: toes pads and mounds ground to the mat, feet as wide as the mat (for more pelvic floor opening) or hip distance apart (if you are able to open the pelvic floor and maintain natural curvature of lower lumbar). Root down through the paws and find an energetic dig down and out isometric movement to engage into the posterior chain. Knees are bent and also hold the isometric, energetic outward movement- but the knees stay in line with the ankles. Hips lift up as high or higher than the shoulders, and glutes keep lifting upward to maintain the sacral-lumbar (lower back) curve. Hips keep moving backward as heart keeps moving forward to create maximum space from heart to hips.
From crouching cat, we become dynamic and able to bounce and pounce at any moment. Keep pushing the floor away super strong to maintain radiant heart… and bounce away, bend, extend, bend, extend, twist and shout. Yow Yow.
From Crouching Cat- swivel both feet- toes and knees go one direction, heels go the opposite direction- so both feet are facing horizontal to the end of the mat. Feet stay in the same line, mat distance apart.
At the same time the feet move, the ear (on the heel side) drops toward shoulder to lift the ribs up high, radiant heart, ribs to the sky. Think of stretching the whole side line of your body up toward the sky- like a human rainbow. Dome hand on the side to which the knees point. Keeping fingers rooted down creates a resistance for you to reach ribs up into. Option to lift arm and reach toward the nearest top corner of the mat. Option to ecstasy that same arm. Hips keep moving backward. Paws root down, knees stay bent. Hips move back as belly bows forward. Ribs lift to the sky, ear cascades to shoulder. With ecstasy arm, elbow hugs in toward cheek, press the head back into the hand- open the throat, open the belly.
My rhythm for this yummy pose is- bend, arch at extend, lift up. Bend- Arch- Lift. 🙂 Ahhh feels so good. Stretching the whole side line fascia is a beautiful (highly addictive) thing.
From Twisted Cat, smooth (sneaky) slide the front foot just behind the back foot without lifting your foot (this allows you to understand and feel where your foot is without your eyes available to see- more sensitivity and awareness). Ecstasy your arm furthest from the ground- or the arm inline with knees. Hips sit low toward the heels, pulse ribs up toward the sky, cascade ear toward shoulder- to first find a beautiful side body extension and stretch. Keep deepening the side stretch with bends and extends until you can begin to open into a front body extension. Keep your ear dropping toward your shoulder to keep your ribs and heart lifting high. Root to rise- paws root down, ribs to the sky. Find your hollows in the ankles, knees, groins, elbows, armpits… This can eventually flip all the way into wave pose by releasing ecstasy arm to find the ground, a beautiful Bowspring alignment backbend.
Side Coil Pose
Similar to warrior poses of traditional yoga, but more dynamic and engaged- Side Coil uses a slightly shorter stance, knees are bent, booty/hips are moving back. Front foot bisects back foot, back foot takes a 45degree angle toward the top corner of the mat and heel lifts to hover. Back foot has the isometric energy of a runner- think of the toe pads and mounds pressing down and back as if you were about to take off for a race (dig drag to find posterior chain engagement), so that your whole back leg engages- including glutes! Back knee is in line with toes, front knee is in line with front foot. Forearm rests lightly on front thigh, hand takes seed position for entire arm engagement. Top arm finds ecstasy with elbow inline with nose. Reach your elbow toward the top of the room, bend and extend to find maximal stretch thru entire side body, lifting ribs up toward the sky. Option to find a bind- arm resting on thigh releases and hand catches outside edge or back thigh. Thigh pulls gently away from hand, hand resists… to increase and intensify the side body stretch.
From Crouching Cat, hop both feet together to the center of the mat. Twist both feet one direction, plant both feet solid onto the mat if possible. Twisting to the side, Ecstasy top arm, hugging elbow in toward nose. Find your hollows! Cascade ear (the ear closest to the ground and on the same side as the rooted arm) to shoulder to lift ribs up toward the sky. Bend and extend knees to find full extension throughout whole side body. This pose is similar to side plank but with legs bent, and top ribs reach upward. This pose utilizes many counter actions. The paws root down, hollows in the ankles. Knees bend forward, hips move back. Belly bows forward, head presses into the hand… Open the throat, open the belly. I imagine turning my body into a human rainbow, a bowing arch of delicious fascia side stretch.
I love this pose- and it can build into lots of other poses such as one arm side balance, one arm/one leg wave pose, wave, or dropping into back cat.