The Cat and Cow Pose is a perfect beginner yoga pose if you are looking to warm up your spine and abdomen. The simple step-by-step instructions would be to to start in “tabletop” position (palms and knees aligned, shoulder distant apart). Center your head in a neutral position, eyes gazing to the floor. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, with shoulders and knees in position. Relax the head toward the floor. Inhaling, lift your hip bones and chest toward the ceiling, with the belly sinking towards the floor. Lift your head to look straight up to the ceiling. Repeat a few more times as desired. To end, exhale, coming back to neutral “tabletop” position.
The cat pose strengthens your abdominal muscles, the rectus and transversus abdominis, the chest area, particularly the pectoralis major and minor and stretches the rhomboids and latissimus dorsi. The cow pose is the reverse, tightening the rhomboids and latissimus dorsi and stretching the abdominal and chest muscles. In addition, it also works on the hip muscles, the iliopsoas and iliacus and the quadratus lumborum.
- Strengthens the Spine: With the repeated movement of the back, the pose strengthens and allow flexibility of the spine to release lower back pains as well as improve posture.
- Massages your Internal Organs: The pose gently massages and stimulates organs in the belly, particularly the kidneys and adrenal glands. This also helps with the digestion.
- Women’s Reproductive System: With the repeated movement of the lower back and abdomen, the gentle massage of the muscles around the reproductive system keeps the hormone level in balance and help elevates the cramps during the menstrual cycle.
- Breathing for Pregnant Women: The inhale and exhale breathing involved keeps the mental state of the woman calm, allowing a better growth of the fetus.
- Weak wrists and shoulders: Someone with weak wrists and shoulders move to the simpler version of Seated Cat Cow Pose to avoid injuring the muscles or bones there.
- Injury at the shoulders: If you have an injury on the shoulders, remember not to put too much pressure during the poses to avoid straining it further. Practice with caution.
- Pregnant women: Avoid doing this on your own if you are a first time practitioner, as the breathing needs aligned along with the body alignment.