) improves the flexibility of your spine and the circulation in your torso. While stretching your shoulders, back and hips, this stretch may also help improve many bodily functions, such as digestion and elimination. You may want to perform Cat Stretch
as a warm-up pose or after more strenuous poses to help release tension from your body.
allows you to practice coordinating your movements with your breath. Exhale as you round and lift your upper back and inhale as you gently arch your lower back. Remember to keep the movements in Cat Stretch
smooth and fluid.
You should use your entire spine to perform this stretch, making sure the back of your neck and your lower back are not compressed when you curl your spine. Feel your spine lengthen in each direction as your tailbone moves away from the crown of your head. As you round and lift your upper back, keep your shoulders relaxed down.
You should use caution performing Cat Stretch
if you have back, wrist or knee problems.
How can I modify the stretch if I have wrist problems?
|Begin in Table Pose.
(Make sure your wrists are below your shoulders and your knees are below your hips.)
(Make sure your arms are straight, but your elbows are not locked.)
|Spread your fingers out, with your middle fingers pointing straight ahead.|
|Lengthen your spine, keeping your head, neck and spine in a straight line.|
|Supporting the weight of your body evenly on your hands and knees, exhale as you tuck your tailbone under you and round and lift your upper back toward the ceiling.|
|Tuck your chin toward your chest.
(Visualize yourself as a cat stretching after waking up from a nap.)
|Inhale as you curl your tailbone up toward the ceiling so your stomach moves toward the floor and your lower back gently arches.|
|Point the crown of your head toward the ceiling and gaze straight ahead.|
|Repeat steps 4 to 7 three to ten times.|
If you have wrist problems, you can make your hands into fists and place your knuckles, instead of your palms, on the floor as you perform Cat Stretch. You can also perform the stretch with your wrists supported. To support your wrists, place a rolled up towel under your wrists and allow your fingers to rest on the floor.
My knees feel sore when I perform Cat Stretch. What can I do?
You can place a folded blanket under your knees. If you cannot rest on your knees at all, you can perform Cat Stretch sitting in Easy Pose
. Exhale as you round your back and tuck your chin toward your chest. Then inhale as you press your sitting bones into the floor, lift your chest up and point the crown of your head toward the ceiling.