One of the poses I’ve come to find that is essential for the body is cat pose. Whether I’m teaching it in most of my classes or simply implementing it my morning or nighttime stretching routine, my spine feels noticeably better.
As basic of a pose as it may seem, it’s important to do every day. I noticed when I was not teaching cat pose or doing it as often, my back felt less flexible.
Cat pose creates synovial fluid, which lubricates the vertebrae. Regardless if you suffer from back pain or not, keeping your spine supple will be beneficial in the long run.
You may notice that in many yoga classes, the verbal cues for cat pose are often not addressed. Although, it may seem self explanatory, however, with these slight and small adjustments you will feel a difference in your body.
1. Start on your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists are under your shoulders. Notice if you are sagging in the collar bones. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.
Make sure your wrists are parallel to the front of the mat, and your forefingers are parallel to the sides of the mat. This will help protect your wrists.
2. Exhale, push the earth away from your hands and press your shins into the ground. Breathe into the back of the heart stretching your shoulder blades apart, and towards the sky. Tuck your chin to your chest and pull the belly to the spine.
Keep your chin tucked, you should start to feel a great stretch through the cervical spine into the region of the neck and tops of shoulders.
3. As you feel that stretch, think of pulling the heels of your palms towards your knees, which should lead to a deeper stretch in your pelvic girdle.
4. For the transition to cow pose, think of the lift initiating from your heart as you pull it through your arms versus just throwing your head back as the belly drops. By doing so, you will feel a deeper stretch through the chest and abdominal wall. Arch the lower back and spread through your sitz bones.
Cat Pose is not only beneficial for a more flexible spine, but also stretches the back muscles in the torso, and neck to help align your posture.
In addition, Cat Pose provides a gentle massage to the belly organs, which is good for the adrenals, and helps regulate the metabolism and stress response for a calm mind and emotional balance for the body.