• 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

    Inverted Yoga Poses

    Yoga Arm Balances

  • Crow Pose
  • Galavasana
  • More Arm Balances

    Understand Balance

    What's New?

    Stability in Yoga Poses

    Make your yoga poses less wobbly with less effort. Grounding and centering are two techniques for creating stability in yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Stability in Yoga Poses"

    Arm Supported Yoga Poses

    Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.

    Continue reading "Arm Supported Yoga Poses"

    Joint Pain Yoga

    Rather than fighting through joint pain here is an overview of the approach that I've used to help alleviate hip pain, knee pain or shoulder joint pain while doing yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Joint Pain Yoga"

    Feeling Your Center of Gravity

    Make balancing easier. Use pressure sensitivity to feel your center of gravity.

    Continue reading "Feeling Your Center of Gravity"

    How to do Squats

    A yoga approach to how to do squats including how to stay balanced, and avoiding knee or hip pain even while going all the way down.

    Continue reading "How to do Squats"

    Camel Yoga Pose

    Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.

    Continue reading "Camel Yoga Pose"

    Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability

    The transverse abdominis can have an affect on sacroiliac joint stability as well as stability of the lumbar spine and the T12/L1 junction.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability"

    Fluid Tensegrity Joint Anatomy

    Fluid tensegrity joint anatomy looks at the tendency of the body to maintain space within the joints. The question is, how is this space maintained?

    Continue reading "Fluid Tensegrity Joint Anatomy"

    Why Improve Body Awareness

    Why improve body awareness? So that you can use your body more effectively and fix problems yourself when they arise.

    Continue reading "Why Improve Body Awareness"

    Tensegrity

    How is tensegrity maintained at the joints even as the body adopts non-tensegrity postures or movements?

    Continue reading "Tensegrity"

    Being Present

    Why being present is the oppositve of thinking and how to utilize both modes effecively.

    Continue reading "Being Present"

    Pigeon Yoga Pose

    Pigeon yoga pose variations include lifting the front hip and resting it on the floor. Learn how to activate the front hip in either variation for better hip control and more effective stretching.

    Continue reading "Pigeon Yoga Pose"

    Creating Tensegrity In Yoga Poses

    Creating tensegrity in yoga poses. What is tensegrity, why should we aim to achieve it when doing yoga or any other activity where mindfullness is required?

    Continue reading "Creating Tensegrity In Yoga Poses"

    Obturator Externus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    Obturator externus anatomy for yoga teachers. If you have hip pain in forward bends and your hip feels weak, obturator externus may be the culprit.

    Continue reading "Obturator Externus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers"

    Yoga Stretches for Tight Hamstrings

    Yoga stretches for tight hamstrings. Learn to feel when your legs are active and when they are relaxed so that you can gradually stretch tight hamstrings.

    Continue reading "Yoga Stretches for Tight Hamstrings"

    Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses

    An experienced yogi's yoga pose has a sense of bigness. How do you as a beginner add bigness to your yoga poses?

    Continue reading "Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses"

    Basic Yoga Sequence Part 1

    Basic yoga sequence for flexibility. Includes hip, hamstring, quad stretches and neck stretches and recovery exercises.

    Continue reading "Basic Yoga Sequence Part 1"

    Back Strengthening Yoga Poses

    Back strengthening yoga poses can be used to strengthen the back of the body including hamstrings, glutes and both the lower and upper back.

    Continue reading "Back Strengthening Yoga Poses"

    Handstand Intro 6

    A look at getting your feet off of the wall and balancing in handstand plus tips for greater arm stability.

    Continue reading "Handstand Intro 6"

    Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength

    Yoga pose sequences for flexibility and strength. These sequences can be used for improving hip and shoulder flexibility and strength.

    Continue reading "Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength"