The cat pose and the cow pose, each with really long names you’ll hear in your yoga class, is a great warm up exercise that mobilizes your spine and gets your body ready for exercise. Cat-cow is a gentle, flowing movement that also stretches your neck, your back torso, and opens up the chest, encouraging a slow and deep rhythmic breath. To do cat-cow follow the steps below:
- Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your knees hip-width apart. Start with your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward.
- Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
- Broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
- Next, move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back (See figure).
- Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
- Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
- Repeat this sequence, moving through each movement.
If you have neck injuries, limit the movement of your head. Always listen to you body and avoid any pain.
There are some variations and tips for making this movement work for you. We love this gentle warm up and we think you will too. It’s a great way to start and finish your day.
This pose is certainly one that will make you feel BETTER about yourself.