Your body and your breath are in continual relationship. An embodied state is an expression of the dance between spirit and matter. The Sanskrit word Tantra literally means “to weave” or “to expand”. In this way, yoga is about weaving a dance between spirit (breath) and matter (body), while liberating dormant potential energies and infusing the body-being with consciousness. As you focus on the interplay between breath and the sensations in your body, your practice becomes a meditation on the relationship between spirit and matter and amplifies the synergy between these two. This is a key aspect of YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine.
Since the spine is your central channel of energy, it is intimately connected to your nervous system, your brain and the spiritual essence of your being. When energy is optimally flowing through your central channel, supported by healthy movement at the tailbone, fluid energy movement through the spine, and a subtle openness at your crown, you are in maximum receptivity to the moment. You are open to the fullness of life-force energy pulsing through you. You are rooted, vital and expansive, in presence with that which is.
Marjariasana or “Cat” pose helps your spine become fluid and lithe. The simple and safe pose for any physical level will help you learn to move with nimble agility like our feline friends. Out of the thousands of yoga poses, I love this pose in particular because it provides an unequaled opportunity to mindfully explore the sensations in every vertebra.
In this pose, you will explore how your spine moves as it gently bends forward and backwards through every vertebra, giving you a greater sense of the wave of life force energy that runs through it. Excellent for pregnancy, menstrual health, scoliosis and disc issues, and with ample freedom to stretch and explore just as a cat would, the Cat pose is a wonderful way to help wake up your spine and let your movements be guided by your breath.
When you are ready, begin by coming onto all fours on your mat. Place your hands directly under your shoulders. Let your palms be broad and well engaged with the ground. Your knees should be directly under your hips, hip width apart.
Inhale, press your hands into the ground, and lift up and out of the shoulders. Let the crown of your head lengthen towards the ceiling and open up the chest. Keep the back of your neck and your lower back long, so that your chin stays just slightly tucked into your chest.
Exhale, round your back, tilt your tailbone in, and let your body follow that inward curve from your lower back, middle back, upper back, shoulders, neck and head, until you bring your chin to your chest.
Inhale, start to roll open from your head, neck, shoulders, upper back, middle back, lower back, tailbone. Feel the full length of your spine, one vertebrae at a time.
Exhale, round the body again.
Follow your breath rhythm and your own playful spirit. Let your body begin to respond to the rhythm of your breath, being mindfully presence with all the sensations that exist in your spine.
As you inhale, feel that you draw energy into your spine and body/being through a whale spout at the top of your head. As you exhale, feel your breath energy rise up the spine and flow out our hands and feet, your torso, legs and arms like tubes of breath. Allow the impulse to breathe guide your movement.
Scan your body as you inhale and exhale, following the rhythm of your breath. Sensing which parts of your spine are tight, which parts of your spine are open, and which parts of your spine you perhaps do not even feel at all. Notice what is going on with your body. Take the time to move slowly, with interest and care.
When you have had enough, you can roll over onto your back and take a few moments to enjoy the vitality and breath awareness you feel in throughout your body-being.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (“I Am Light”, “Electro Yog”, “Yoga In The Nightclub”), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (“The Grace Mindset”, “Aonani of Avalon”, “The Three Supreme Secrets for Lasting Happiness”) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS). More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.