Gil Katz, E-RYT 500, WCS

Ease back pain with cat cow pose

One of the most common complaints I hear from my students is back pain. Low back pain, mid back pain, shoulder and neck pain…you name it.   What pose comes to the rescue?? Cat/Cow stretches!  This is a pose you can do daily at home and is while pregnant.

Come onto hands and knees making sure that your knees are directly under your hips and a few inches apart. Your wrists should be placed directly under your shoulders with the fingers facing forward. If there’s pressure under the knees you can place a folded blanket or towel underneath.
Elongate the spine, reaching the crown of your head forward, your gaze looking down at the floor.
On your inhalation (breathe in and out of the nose) let the belly drop towards the floor and
hallow out your back, lifting the tailbone and lifting the chin slightly. Gently squeeze the shoulder
blades together to open the heart. This is called Cow pose.
On your exhalation tuck the tailbone, tuck the chin and round out the back reaching the spine
towards the ceiling. Using your abdominal muscles gently engage the core and
tone the abs. This is called Cat pose.
Keeping your arms straight continue flowing between these two poses with your breath. Inhale
to Cow. Exhale to Cat. Feel the tension in your spine releasing, feel the rhythm of your breath.
Continue this movement 6-8 times total and then allow yourself to rest in Child’s pose. Take your knees
wide and push your hips toward your heels, keep the arms extended with the palms pressing
into the mat and rest the forehead on the floor, block  or blanket. Connect with your breath.  After a few breaths in Child’s pose, come back to hands and knees and do another round of Cat/Cow.

The flow of movement between two poses lubricates and stretches your entire spine, releases low
back tension, helps gently tone the abdominal muscles. Practice Cat/Cow each day as a way to prevent or alleviate back pain. It is an invigorating moving meditation that can be done to help awaken the body after a good night’s sleep or to stretch the body after a restless night.