How to Do Cat-Cow Stretch For Better Health

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If you want to stretch your back and stimulate the core, there’s a yoga pose tailor-made for you: the cat-cow.

This gentle flowing vinyasa incorporates the two poses marjaryasana (cat pose) and bitilasana (cow pose). These asanas are paired together for a gentle, fluid series of movements that can open up tight muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce stress.

If you’re looking for a good stretch that can help you feel better and improve your health, look no further than the cat-cow pose.


How to Do Cat-Cow Stretch

  • Start in a tabletop position, with the knees bent and hands supporting the back.
  • Bring the knees towards the chest while pressing the hips up, lifting the chest up too.
  • The body should look like an inverted ‘V’ from above.
  • Hold for several seconds (or longer if you have time); release and repeat on the opposite side.

Benefits of Cat-Cow Stretch

Improves posture and strengthens the back muscles. (Image via Unsplash/Dane Wetton)
Improves posture and strengthens the back muscles. (Image via Unsplash/Dane Wetton)

Here’re the benefits:

  • Strengthens back muscles: This is one of the main reasons why cat-cow is so popular among yogis and other fitness enthusiasts. It not only helps strengthen the back muscles but also improves posture by making you sit up straight without slouching forward or backward.
  • Improves posture: A good posture makes you look more attractive and confident in public as well as in front of people who matter to you, like family members, friends and coworkers.
  • Stretches spine: When we sit for long hours at work or while watching TV at home, we tend to slump down with our backs hunched forward, which causes stiffness in the neck area, leading to tension and frequent headaches.
  • Improves breathing: Cat-Cow does wonders for improving lung capacity, as it stretches out the chest area, allowing more space for air intake through lungs, releasing negative emotions such as anger etc

Modifications

As a beginner, try the modified version of the cat-cow stretch pose. (Image via Unsplash/Dane Wetton)
As a beginner, try the modified version of the cat-cow stretch pose. (Image via Unsplash/Dane Wetton)

While the Cat-Cow stretch is a wonderful way to loosen up after a day of sitting in a chair, there’re some important things you should know before attempting it. If you have any injuries or discomfort, do not do this pose.

Moreover, if you’re pregnant or have high blood pressure or any other serious health condition, do consult with your doctor first before attempting the exercise. If you’re new to yoga and stretching in general, start with a modified version of the pose till your body gets used to it.

The modified version involves keeping the hips on the ground while lifting and lowering them slightly as if they were a cat moving up and down against an imaginary surface (and then reversing that movement).


Tips to Perform Cat-Cow Stretch Pose

Here’re a few tips:

  • Keep a straight spine throughout the pose.
  • Focus on your breath. Don’t overstretch or force yourself into it, but also don’t hold your breath.
  • Don’t push yourself to far, and don’t overwork the pose. It’s not about how much you can stretch right now; it’s about regular practice, which will bring you benefits.

The cat-cow stretch is a great way to improve flexibility and relieve stress. It also helps you breathe better so that you can focus better on other yoga poses too. If you’re looking for an easy pose that has many benefits, this one might be just right for you.



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