Pose Breakdown: Cat Pulling Its Tail

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Nancy Nelson

Let’s talk about Cat Pulling Its Tail pose. This posture offers the body a wonderful twist that stimulates the entire body.


From a side lying position propped up onto the forearms, take a few moments to breath and stretch into the ribcage as it flares like a fan toward the floor. After a moment here, begin to stagger the legs. You can support the forward leg with a bolster if you’d like. The bottom (back) leg can rest to the floor or you can bind with the foot/ankle if accessible and desired. Then, thread the supporting arm toward the space in front of the chest and open the chest toward the sky as you drop the other shoulder behind you. Binds here are optional. Take your time and allow sensation to build gradually.

Cat pulling its tail pose


  • Maintaining the “yin” here is important. When we add binds in, sometimes we have to put forth much effort. Do your best to find the balance between effort and ease. Utilizing straps to find binds is a wonderful way to gauge sensation mindfully.
  • Top leg can extend or bend to intensify or lessen the intensity of the stretch.
  • To feel more in the hip flexors in the bottom leg, adjust the knee to aim more toward the end of the mat or slightly behind you.
  • Don’t worry so much about gluing the shoulders or knees down in twists. As long as your joints feel safe, you don’t have to close out that space unless you want to.

Variations + Options


  • Stretches the outer legs and front of the hips
  • Massages the stomach and internal organs
  • Can help sooth gastritis and other digestive issues

Meridians Targeted

  • Stimulates the stomach, spleen, gallbladder and kidney lines

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Vertebral Issues. In the lumbar spine and SI joint specifically. Be sure to utilize support using props to alleviate possible strain on already sensitive joints.
  • Pregnancy. Be mindful of twisting when pregnant. Utilize props to support this rotation so that the stomach isn’t the main target. A seated twist is always a nice alternative.

HOLD TIME: 3-5 minutes per side

Counter Postures

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Nancy Nelson
Nancy Nelson
Nancy is the fearless leader here at Nancy Nelson Yoga! She has been instructing yoga since 2012 and is certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500, YACEP) with Yoga Alliance. She loves guiding yoga classes in all forms – from sweaty vinyasa flows, to slow mindful movement - but her favorite style to practice and teach is yin yoga. She attended a formal 50-hour Yin Yoga training with Bernie Clark and Diana Batts in the fall of 2018 and it truly propelled her into developing her yin focused website, webinars and trainings.

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