Last week we practiced child’s pose. This week I would like to get a little bit more fluidity into our spines after stretching so that next week we can begin to strengthen our spinal columns a bit more. So lets all practice every kids favorite yoga pose: cat and cow.
This common yoga pose is great for increasing movement in your whole spinal column and goes great with hip rocks. Beginning on your hands and knees, make sure that your knees are hip width apart and your hands are shoulder width apart, making 90 degree angles with your hips and shoulders.
Begin with your focus on your hips and tailbone. Tuck your ups up, pull your stomach in, arch your back up, stretch upwards through your shoulders, and tuck your chin down to your chest. Do this in a rolling motion, beginning the arch at your tailbone and continuing it up your spine. This is the cat pose.
Then reverse the motion, again beginning at your tail bone. Roll through your spine, arching your low back and letting your stomach drop and relax. Stretch your chest forward and lift your head up and back, elongating the spine. This is the cow pose.
Keep alternating between cat and cow pose for 5 repetitions each morning with your other movements to get more fluidity into your spinal column. This is best done daily. After a week or two you may want to begin to increase to 6 repetitions and over time getting up to 8. You will not notice much additional benefit from doing more above this each day. The real benefits come from doing this movement pattern on a daily basis rather than more at once.
You can also take this movement to the next level by incorporating a breathing pattern. Chose to either breathe in or out on each movement. There are benefits to each pattern. I prefer to breathe in on cow pose as it is an opening pose for the lungs and to breathe out on the cat pose as I constrict my lungs. You may choose to do the opposite however as demonstrated in the cartoon image of this post. Enjoy and let us know what you chose to do.
Be sure to stick with this series as we continue to look at downward and upward dog, and cobra to support our back stretching and strengthening. At the conclusion of this movement series look for a special release for our Patrons with a full workout for back pain support.
Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. The Dancing Herbalist posts on this blog every Thursday. For more of our posts, join us on Patreon. Jillian also presents regular live classes in The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online. For more learning opportunities or to work one-on-one with Jillian with her wellness and herbal consultations visit The Dancing Herbalist.com.