Your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE,” does a fantastic job of explaining how to practice this warm-up. This warm-up is great for releasing back tension, which makes it great for anyone with sciatica. This is because this warm-up brings awareness to the abdomen, strengthening this area, which creates more stability in the lower back. It is also great for students with wrist or knee issues.
As explained in your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE,” there are chakras that are benefited by this warm-up. The dosha balance is also affected. See below for a simple breakdown.
Vata This dosha is increased in this asana.
Pitta This dosha is increased in this asana.
Kapha This dosha is decreased in this asana.
Alternatively, if you would like to practice the traditional Cat-Cow asana, also known as Durga-Go”, for a warm-up, you can do that as well. This asana is traditionally practiced starting on all fours in Table Pose (Bharmanasana) and is a fluid movement between Cat Pose or in Sanskrit Marjaryasana (mahr-jahr-ee-AH-sah-nah) and Cow Pose or in Sanskrit Bitilasana (bit-ill-AHH-sah-nah). These two asanas are a perfect example of counterposing. By the fluid movement of going back and forth between these two asanas, we are balancing our back muscles. This movement is great for the spine and provides a nice stretch throughout the back.
For an example of how to practice this asana watch the video below and review the pictures for important cues for these combined asanas.
Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
For this asana flow, there are different modifications that you can make depending on your student’s needs. Below are those modifications and the types of students that typically benefit from them. Keep in mind that this is a Restorative Yoga class, so these modifications are usually the standard.
• Students with a neck injury, should gaze down at the mat and not tuck in their chin.
• For students with wrist injuries, they can either: a) elevate their wrists with a blanket, folded mat, or bolster, b) form fists and practice on knuckles, or c) go down to their forearms (with or without a block).
• Students with knee injuries can place a folded blanket or bolster under their knees for support.
• For students who have trouble balancing or feel discomfort in their ankles, have them curl their toes under for stability and/or add a blanket under the ankles for comfort.
• To get a deeper stretch, have students look over one shoulder, while squeezing the hip and shoulder on that side towards each other. Repeat on the other side.
Like any asana or asana flow that we practice, there are some contraindications that we should be aware of to ensure safely.
1. Student with severe neck, shoulders, wrist, hips, knees, or back injuries should avoid this pose or use a modification or prop.
2. Students with high blood pressure, migraines, spondylitis, severe carpal tunnel syndrome, or arthritis in the knees and wrists, should avoid this posture unless doing a modification or using a prop and guidance.
Since this asana flow is reverse from the warm-up discussed in your textbook, the affected chakras as slightly different.