“Cat and Cow” are two alternating yoga poses that should be performed together, one after the other, in succession, for several breath counts.
The general understanding is that you’re supposed to inhale on “cow” and exhale on “cat.” These poses are designed to increase flexibility in the spine, warm up the core and bring blood flow to the pelvic region.
So you’d go cat, cow, cat, cow, cat, cow, repeating slowly and mindfully, enjoying the deep spinal and abdominal stretch and contract.
To start with cat and cow, get on all fours on your yoga mat. Palms to the floor, directly beneath the shoulders, with knees in alignment.
Slowly and mindfully arch your back, one vertebrae at a time, breathing in slowly and mindfully.
Next, do the opposite: curve your back as a Halloween cat might, pulling your abdominals in. Exhale slowly as you do this.
Repeat the cow pose on the inhale again.
Then do the cat pose again, exhaling as you pull your abdominals in tight. Imagine your spine elongating on a curve.
Try to remain relaxed as you do cat and cow. You can hang out in these poses for as long as you’re comfortable. Rushing through, or tensing your body, will defeat the purpose.
Finish in child’s pose to rest.
Yoga is for everyone. If I can do it so can you!
8 Reasons to practice Cat/Cow Pose:
1. Strengthens the arms and the shoulders.
2. Improves digestion
3. Helps with insomnia.
4. Improves posture.
5. Helps relieve menstrual cramps, lower back pain, and sciatica.
6. Increases flexibility of the neck, shoulders, and spine. Stretches the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen, chest, and lungs.
7. Releases tension of the upper back and neck.
8. Opens, activates, and balances the Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra), Sacral Chakra (Swadisthana Chakra) and Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra).
As you stretch it out pay attention to your breathing. In. Out. Relax. Release.