Cat Pulling Its Tail

Benefits:
  • A nice counterpose to strong forward bends (such as the Snail or Caterpillar)
  • Mildly compresses the lower back
  • Opens the quadriceps and upper thighs.

Contra-indications:
  • If you have lower back issues, go gently. You may not be able to pull the foot away at all.

Getting Into the Pose:
  • Start by sitting with both legs out in front of you. Twist to the right and recline onto your right elbow. Keeping your bottom (right) leg straight, bring your top (left) leg forward and to the side. Bend the bottom leg, bringing that heel toward your buttock. Reach back with your top (left) hand and grab the bottom foot. Pull the foot away from you.
  • You may begin lying down. From here, roll onto your right side. Keeping your bottom (right) leg straight, bring your top (left) leg to the side. Bend the bottom leg, bringing that heel toward your buttock. Reach back with your top (left) hand and grab the bottom foot. Pull the foot away from you.

Alternatives & Options:
  • Easiest version is to be propped up on one arm, as shown in the first picture.
  • The more challenging version is to recline, and look over shoulder to the bottom foot. This version becomes a reclining twist with a back bend. Emphasize pulling the foot away from the buttock (most students will not be able to do this).

Coming Out of the Pose:
  • Release the bottom foot and roll onto your stomach. Straighten the bottom leg and roll onto your back.

Counter poses:
  • Hug the knees to the chest to release the lower back in a gentle forward fold. Do this either while lying on your back or in Child's Pose.

Meridians & Organs Affected:
  • Stimulates the Stomach and Spleen meridians (if the top of the thigh is activated) and the Urinary Bladder and Kidney lines (when the back is arched and twisted).
  • If you feel a twist through the side of the rib cage, the Gall Bladder meridian is being stimulated.

Joints Affected:
  • Mostly opens the lumbar/sacrum.
  • The feeling of a twist may indicate that the rib cage is getting some juice, too.

Recommended Hold Times:
  • One minute if done as a counterpose to a forward bend
  • Can hold for three to five minutes as a reclining twist

Similar Yang Asanas:
  • Jatharaparivartanasana, with a back bend.

Other Notes:
  • If you are actively pulling the foot away, the pose becomes yang-like in nature. In this case, you may shorten the time or release the pressure after one minute.



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