Cat /Cow……..Next in our home sequence.
What I love about the linking of Cat & Cow is the simple flow of the poses. Linking these 2 poses together helps to really connect to our inhale & exhale and helps to understand spinal flexion and extension, along with making a connection to the pelvic action.
In Cat, with the back arched up, is spinal flexion and in Cow, with the lumber curve exaggerated, is a spinal extension.
Cow pose expands the chest and opens the abdomen to make room for a full inhale, as we exhale into Cat, the belly space becomes smaller helping the body to make a full exhale.
So try Cat/Cow. Come to hands and knees, with hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips and without creating any movement in the spine become aware of your breath. Each inhale moves into the ribs, maybe into the back body and on the exhale we lightly draw the belly in and up.
Now on your next inhale lift your chest forward and up, then lengthen your tailbone and tilt it up. Keep the shoulders away from your ears, wrap them around your upper back. Feel how free your inhale is, how much more expansive the breath can be.
As you begin your exhale, the belly draws in. Tucking the pelvis gently pulls the tailbone under, the chest rounds under, the upper back opens and we drop our head. Try not to force the breath out, but let the natural movement of the body to contract moving the air completely out of the body.
Back and forth inhaling Cow, exhaling Cat. Soften the jaw, find a light Ujjayi breath ( Yoga journal has a nice description of Ujjayi breathing http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/768 ), allow the breath to control the speed of the movement. Let the breath lead you.
Simple huh, and so good for your back and hips. That same action of Cat & Cow can be done seated or standing too.
So if you’re a desk dweller or if you stand for long periods of time try it and see if it doesn’t relieve some of the tension, just don’t forget the breath, without the breath/body connection it really isn’t yoga.