Once again, it’s a pretty cute name for an incredibly awesome stretch, however it is very apt. Cats are able to lie blissfully asleep for very long periods of time in some pretty twisted positions. That is exactly what we need to do when holding these Yin yoga poses. We need to relax, give in, let go, breath deep and surrender to the shape and the moment just like a twisted sleeping cat.
Some times in these twisted positions breathing can feel weird but don’t panic, you can still breathe, just slow everything down and relax. The breath is way stronger than you think it is! The mind is the part that likes to race away and think and give everything a dire outcome. Just be in the moment that you are in, without thought of what has happened, or what may happen, and relax.
This posture is such a great, long stretch through the diagonal lines of the body from opposite shoulder to hip. It’s also a great stretch to the complete outer line from same shoulder to hip.
The chest is open and intercostals are stretched. The spinal twist is great for spinal mobility and lower back release. The chest and the shoulder joint is opening and assisting in the release of mid-back tension and the hip rotator is opening.
Also, the neck twist is great for spinal and neck joint mobility.
Let’s take a look at getting into this pose step by step:
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and shoulders flat.
2. Take your right heel over to the left butt, like you are going to kick butt!
3. Reach down with your left hand and hold onto the right foot (if you can’t reach the foot you can make a loop with towel and use a yoga strap to help hold the foot).
4. Try to take the right knee behind the right hip at a diagonal, this will deepen the stretch.
5. On an in-breath take the left knee across the body and hold the right hand on top of the left knee. (If the knee is hovering off the floor, place a rolled up towel or yoga block underneath it) try to have the left knee sitting approximately parallel to the hip.
6. The head is looking back at the left shoulder, the belly is lifted and chest wide.
7. Relax both legs completely, allow them to feel heavy in the shape.
8. Work on having both backs of the shoulders sunk on the floor, both knees and both feet.
9. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes. Rest and repeat on the opposite side.
Metta, Kim OXO
Kim White is the owner of Sala Samadhi. She offers authentic Hatha yoga instruction for private and group sessions. Contact: www.mindbodyyogasystem.com or 086 276 9174.
The opinions and advice contained in this column are those of the author only. The Phuket News is not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any situation.