• T
  • H
  • M
  • Balancing Cat Pose,
    Balancing with Same Side Leg and Arm Lifted

    In balancing cat pose the same side arm and leg are both extended.

    This position is used as one of the tests (rotational stability) in Gray Cooks Functional Movement Screen. It's also an excellent way to practice balancing.

    Activating the Serratus Anterior Muscle to Stabilize the Scapula

    One of the first things that you can practice, even befor trying to balance, is spreading the shoulder blades to lift the ribcage. This action uses the serratus anterior muscle. When doing this action, you may find that your arm and shoulder feels more stable if you rotate the arms outwards. You can also try squeezing the elbow joint. If you aren't sure, or are having difficulty, practice lifting and lowering your ribcage. Note that I am not bending my spine backwards as I do this in the pictures below. I'm simply moving my ribcage relative to my shoulders.

    The idea is to use this same action and keep it when supporting your weight on only one arm.

    balancing cat pose, balance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, balance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm lifted

    Balancing in Stages

    You can learn balancing cat pose in steps.

    Lifting the Arm

    The first step is to lift the arm. On all fours:

    • First spread the shoulder blades to lift the ribcage.
    • Then shift your ribcage over your supporting arm.
    • Then reach your other arm forwards.

    When shifting your ribcage focus on feeling your hands. Notice when all of your weight is on one hand. The other arm may feel relaxed. Then you can lift that arm.

    Make your neck feel long and reach that arm forwards.

    balancing cat pose, balance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, balance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, balance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, balance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm lifted

    Then relax and repeat.

    Lifting the Leg

    Next with ribcage lifted at the shoulders,

    • Move your hips over your supporting knee.
    • Lift your other leg.

    When shifting your pelvis focus on feeling your knees. Notice when the weight of your pelvis is entirely over one knee. Then lift your other leg. Make your leg and spine feel long.

    balancing cat pose, balance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, balance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose prep position

    Then relax and repeat.

    Lift Arm and Leg

    Next put these elements together for a complete balance exercise.

    • Use your shoulders to lift your ribcage.
    • Shift weight onto one arm.
    • Lift the other arm.
    • Shift pelvis onto same side knee.
    • Lift the other leg.
    • Hold.

    Focus on reaching forwards with the arm and back with the leg. Then release and repeat on the other side.

    balancing cat pose, prep positionbalance exercises, cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, , cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, , cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, , cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, , cat pose with same side leg and arm liftedbalancing cat pose, , cat pose with same side leg and arm lifted

    Balancing Cat Pose Options

    When I first started doing this pose I used to lift the leg first. But then I found it was easier to stay balanced when I lifted the arm first. Once you are used to this yoga pose you can try both options.

    You can also experiment with shifting your weight fowards or backwards slightly. I find that when I shift my weight back the top of my back foot presses into the floor with more pressure. I can then use this foot to help make balancing cat pose easier.

    Once you are used to balancing focus on making your arm, leg and spine long. And work at keeping your torso level from left to right so that the lifted limb side or your ribcage and pelvis is at the same height as your supporting limb side.

    Note that their are also downward dog and plank variations of this yoga balance exercise.

    Strengthen the Back of your Body

    Although this is mainly a balancing yoga pose, you can also use this yoga pose to strengthen the back of your body. Focus on using the hamstrings and glute of your lifted leg to lift the leg higher. And focus on using your spinal erectors to bend your spine backwards (and tilt your pelvis forwards) at the same time.

    Return to Home Page

    Return to Yoga Poses to Improve Balance from Balancing Cat Pose

    Balancing

    Basic Balance

    Stability

    Inverted Yoga Poses

    Yoga Arm Balances

  • Crow Pose
  • Galavasana
  • More Arm Balances

    Understand Balance

    What's New?

    Grounding Your Yoga Pose

    Inspired by Thomas Myers Anatomy Trains, sequenced muscle activation provides a framework for grounding your yoga pose. The result can be more control with less effort.

    Continue reading "Grounding Your Yoga Pose"

    Yoga for Beginners 1

    One approach to learning yoga is to simply practice yoga poses. The approach in Yoga For Beginners 1 is to help you to learn to feel your body while doing yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Yoga for Beginners 1"

    Glute Activation Tip for Yoga Teachers and Desk Jockeys

    Here's a simple exercise for glute activation you can do while sitting. It's also applicable while doing squats.

    Continue reading "Glute Activation Tip for Yoga Teachers and Desk Jockeys"

    Glute Activation Tip for Yoga Teachers and Desk Jockeys

    Here's a simple exercise for glute activation you can do while sitting. It's also applicable while doing squats.

    Continue reading "Glute Activation Tip for Yoga Teachers and Desk Jockeys"

    Why Do We Have Sacroiliac Joints

    Why do we have sacroiliac joints? Why allow the hip bones and sacrum to move even just slightly) relative to each other? Pelvic Tensegrity

    Continue reading "Why Do We Have Sacroiliac Joints"

    Muscle Trains

    Inspired by Thomas Myers Anatomy Trains, sequenced muscle activation provides a framework for anchoring muscle trains for maximum effect with minimum effort.

    Continue reading "Muscle Trains"

    Fixing Hip Pain in Standing Forward Bends

    I get pain in my left hip in standing forward bends and even squats. Here are some of the exercises that I've used to make my hip feel better.

    Continue reading "Fixing Hip Pain in Standing Forward Bends"

    Basic Routine with Knee Strengthening Exercises

    I've added part 2 to the description of this routine. Parts 3 and 4 to come (the videos are already on youtube.

    Continue reading "Basic Routine with Knee Strengthening Exercises"

    Basic Yoga Routine with Knee Strengthening Exercises

    This routine, with accompanying videos, includes knee strengthening exercises as well as exercises for basic strengthening, improving stability and balance. It also helps you to improve body awareness.

    Continue reading "Basic Yoga Routine with Knee Strengthening Exercises"

    Video: Getting Comfortable in the Deep Squat

    My latest video, some tips for getting comfortable in the deep squat. And suggestions for shifting weight to one leg while in a deep squat.

    Continue reading "Video: Getting Comfortable in the Deep Squat"

    An Exercises for Knee Stability, The Seated Get Up

    The seated get up is a way of getting into the one legged squat from a seated position. Even if you aren't interested in one leg squats this video does include tips on stabilizing the knees (at about the 5 minute mark.) Usual muscle activations for knee stability might include the quads, the hamstrings or any of the glutes. This looks at another set of muscles all together. If you like the video or find it helpful, please do share it! Thanks!

    Continue reading "An Exercises for Knee Stability, The Seated Get Up"

    Deep Squats

    Some tips for learning how to do deep squats (without weight). The first tip is on how to stay balanced while squatting.

    Continue reading "Deep Squats"

    Learning The Body Weight Squat

    How do you learn the body weight safely? How do you work towards this pose even if you aren't sure if you are capable of doing it.

    Continue reading "Learning The Body Weight Squat"

    Basic Yoga Poses

    Basic yoga poses: standing, sitting, arm balances, binds, twists, inversions, back bending, front bends.

    Continue reading "Basic Yoga Poses"

    Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises

    Some hip flexor strengthening exercises.

    Continue reading "Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises"

    Scapular Awareness

    Scapular stabilization becomes a little bit harder when working agains the weight of the body. It can be easier to learn if you gradually increase the amount of body weight the scapular stabilizer muscles are working againsts..

    Continue reading "Scapular Awareness"

    Arm Strengthening Exercises

    These yoga poses can be used as arm strengthening exercises.

    Continue reading "Arm Strengthening Exercises"

    Leg Strengthening Exercises

    Turn yoga poses into leg strengthening exercises using floor pressing actions, leverage and friction.

    Continue reading "Leg Strengthening Exercises"

    Hip Strengthening Exercises

    One way of finding and fixing hip problems is to do standing hip strengthening exercises while balancing on one leg.

    Continue reading "Hip Strengthening Exercises"

    Knee Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    Knee anatomy for yoga teachers looks at the bones and muscles that comprise the back of the knee in simple terms.

    Continue reading "Knee Anatomy for Yoga Teachers"