The Cat-Cow pose tends to always be used in the warm-up of yoga classes. It’s a good way to introduce spine mobility and used as a preparation pose to lead up to more movement based on spinal extensions and flexions. It is also often used in Pilates classes.
Benefits of Cat-Cow Pose:
- warms the spine, increasing spinal mobility
- stretches the chest and arches the back in cow pose
- rounds the spine and stretches shoulder blades in cat pose
- improves coordination, balance and posture
- stimulates the internal organs such as kidneys and adrenal glands
- relieves stress, helps you focus on calming the breath and mind
I feel like this pose is used in 99% of classes. If you sit a lot during the day, your spine may be a bit rigid or slightly kyphotic if you work at a computer for hours. It is a great pose to bring some more movement to the spine and counteract the lack of movement it may not be receiving during the day. It also makes you more aware of your pelvic tilt and how you stand during the day. Do you tend to lean on one leg more than the other? Perhaps you stand with your knees locked out, placing too much weight on the hips causing posture problems. Most of the population have musculoskeletal imbalances due to the repetitive movements we are doing during our days, weeks and years. Yoga & Pilates brings our bodies into new stretches and shapes to try and increase range of movement and core strength tackling these imbalances.
Alternative & tips:
- Bring knees directly under hips
- Spread fingers pressing whole hand on floor directly under shoulders
- If knees are sensitive, place blanket under knees or fold mat for more support
- Standing up Cat-Cow: Bend the knees, rest hands on quads, stretch chest and lift head for cow pose and then stuck pelvis and drop chin to chest for cat pose.
- For yoga, breath in and lift the head, exhale, drop the head. For pilates, the opposite breath cues will be used
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