Marjaryasana (Cat / Table Pose and Cat-Cow Flow) – Overview

Asana Digest Overview


Marjaryasana (Cat / Table Pose and Cat-Cow Flow), and related poses such as Bitilasana (Cow Pose), Cat-Cow Flow and Balancing Table


Become knowledgeable about the pose and review detailed teaching considerations.


Explain the Sanskrit naming; contraindications and cautions; associated benefits and typical effects; instructions and cues for setting up and practicing the pose; variations to meet particular intentions and needs; and more teaching considerations.

Prerequisite Knowledge

The focus of Asana Digests is teaching specific poses. This support presumes you’re aware of the groundwork and teaching support here:  Asana Category – Core Strengthening Poses

Poses Overview


“marjari” = cat
Cat Pose
Also known as: Table, Hands & Knees and All Fours


Cow Pose

Naming Conventions

  • Marjaryasana (Cat Pose) is also called Table, Hands & Knees, and All Fours.
  • Marjaryasana is also the name given by some sources to Cat-Cow Flow.
  • See Basic Form in menu above for a summary of Cat-Cow Flow poses and their various names.
Table, Table Top, Reverse Table Top
  • In addition to the name Table, the neutral Cat Pose position is sometimes called Table Top.
  • On the other hand, Table Top is occasionally – and confusingly – used to refer to a variation of Purvottanasana (Upward Plank) with knees bent.
  • More often (and more clearly), the Upward Plank variation is referred to as Reverse Table Top.

Messy, Messy Naming

Chakravakasana, Cakravakasana, Sunbird, Sunbird Flow, Ruddy Goose
  • First area to note: the potential confusion related to the spelling of “Cakravakasana” (Ruddy Goose) and “Chakravakasana” (Sunbird).
  • These usually refer to two different poses but some sources will mis-spell the name, causing even more confusion.
  • Chakravakasana is used by some sources to refer to Opposite Limb Extension, and by some to refer to a flow that begins standing on the knees.
  • Cakravakasana (Ruddy Goose flow) is a flow from Table Pose to Extended Child’s Pose.
  • Chakravakasana (Sunbird flow) is a flow from knees to Extended Child’s Pose, then to Balancing Table, Extended Child’s and back to knees.

Much More in this Digest

Asana Digests are precisely organized so that you can quickly get what you need. Please select from the menu above and be sure to review any contraindications and cautions.

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