Yoga for You: Cat & Cow Poses

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ploog-wideTo warm up for 2015, let’s look at the poses Cat and Cow (Marjaryasana & Bitilasana). These stretches are often paired with breathing to compliment their action. Together the two poses warm up the muscles of the back and core to prepare for more movement.

The New Year brings the idea of fresh opportunities to make changes. It’s as if we’ve been given a new, blank canvas to create our lives on. The problem? Most of us are so set in our old ways that it is impossible to create lasting changes on a fresh canvas of life.

Here’s the deal: If we are 100 percent committed to our stories and believe that ‘we are how we are’ and ‘the world is how it is,’ then we don’t have the space to create something different.

The fact that you are reading this article tells me that you are probably already familiar with the idea that our thoughts are the starting point for creation of our lives. This is no secret to us. We get it, and yet many times we don’t use this information to empower ourselves to create the changes we most desire.

The practice of meditation and yoga allows me to clear out the superfluous mind junk to listen for strong-held beliefs that may be holding back the radical changes I need to make to live into my highest potential. Once I can see the belief that is holding back my change potential, I can take away its power in my subconscious mind.

This is big work — and I acknowledge you for doing it. So let’s dive into a basic yoga self-transformation exercise with cat & cow. Grab a pen and paper.

Take a moment to write down what you are truly ready to change in your life. Ask the question, “What do I need to know in order to make this change?” Then come onto your hands and knees in “table top” and close your eyes. As you inhale, arch your spine taking your chest, chin, and butt up. As you exhale, round your spine tucking your chin and tail while you press your mid-back up. Continue to follow your breath while you arch and round your spine. Clear your space and listen. Once you feel complete, stop. Sit up. Take a breath. Write down your answer. Close your eyes and repeat the mantra: “I am ready to change.” Namasté.

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Michelle Ploog has been a nationally recognized yoga teacher for over 13 years. She’s certified in Baptiste Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Fluid Power Vinyasa and Restorative Yoga. She began practicing as a teenager and has since evolved into co-developing and facilitating Yoga Teacher Trainings in multiple locations. Her expertise in fitness as an ACE certified personal trainer, years as a sports-specific yoga teacher/ fitness trainer for the FL Everglades, and experience in wellness coaching influence her dynamic approach to yoga. She spends her time between Minneapolis and Naples throughout the year, and calling her partner Dan and their furbabies Dallas and Kitty her home.

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