Cats? What do cats have anything to do with yoga? Pulling its tail? Well, we don’t need to run around in circles for this one.
I’m pretty fond of this feline-named pose in Yin Yoga. Depending on your intention, you can get into this pose with a different focus. I typically use this in different ways: a twist, quad/thigh opener, to navigate around the tissues around the IT band and its a shoulder opener. Here are a few approaches or variations in this pose. Some of these ideas have come from my Yinsters (Yin Yoga students).
1. This variation for most folks gets more awareness to the top outer hip. Also feel it in the back thigh and a nice twist. You can opt to bend the top leg and not perform IT band stress and focus on the twist and just quadriceps (which is not shown).
2. Depending on your range, you maybe able to grab both legs with your hands. Similar to the above track.
3. This is a variation for someone who cannot reach the back leg. Even if you can reach the back leg, try this and relax. Feel the back thigh open up with the twist. Note: I didn’t have a block for resting my top knee, but I recommend it.
4. Same as #3, but top leg extended.
5. Similar to #3 above. This one was discovered by my Yin student. He had it comfortable across his shoulder. Make sure you don’t constrict the chest. Angle it like the photo below for more comfort.
6. Same as #5 but with and added IT band focus.
Remember to consult your doctor before performing any pose. Use props to feel supported, always find your Goldilocks position (not too little, not too much — just right). Explore the angles. Explore using props! You’ll be glad you did!
For more information on this pose on meridian lines, contraindications and more, visit my teacher’s (Bernie’s) site at http://www.yinyoga.com/ys2_2.0_asanas_cat_pulling_tail.php. Remember, everyBODY is different.