Bidalasana or Marjariasana, both meaning Cat Pose in Sanskrit, is a kneeling asana in modern yoga as exercise. A variant with one leg held out is Vyaghrasana, Tiger Pose. A variant with the back lowered is Bitilasana, Cow Pose; this is often used as the counter-posture, and a widely-used exercise is to alternate between Cat and Cow Poses repeatedly.
Etymology and origins
The name Bidalasana, बिडालासन, is from the Sanskrit बिडाल, biḍāl, meaning "cat", and "āsana" meaning "posture" or "seat". The alternative name Marjariasana (also written Marjaryasana), मार्जरीआसन, is similarly from मार्जरी, marjarī, also meaning "cat". The pose was introduced into modern yoga as exercise in the early 20th century by T.K.V. Desikachar and Satyananda Saraswati. A similar pose was described in Niels Bukh's early 20th century Danish text Primary Gymnastics as "prone-kneeling position", which in turn was derived from a 19th century Scandinavian tradition of gymnastics.
In variations of the pose, one leg is stretched out straight, and the knee of the stretched out leg may then be bent so the foot points straight up; the opposite hand may also be stretched out; this is called Vyaghrasana, Tiger Pose.
Cat Pose is often alternated with Bitilasana (बितिलासन), Cow Pose, where the belly and back are lowered, the hips and shoulders remaining unmoved.
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