First, learn how to do cat/cow in two different ways:
- Beginner: The first way is when the entire spine moves in sync, meaning the lower back, mid/upper back and neck all move synchronized with each other.
- Intermediate: The second way is to move one vertebrae at a time, but you start from the hips and move upwards and vice versa. (Best you just watch the video to get it.)
Why is it called cat/cow? Originally the names were Bitilasana and Marjayeasana in sanskrit yoga which translates to cat pose and cow pose. Some physical therapists call this cat/camel, but camel pose is very different, so I’m going to call it cat/cow because that’s how it goes in yoga.
Next, learn how to intensify cat/cow and use it in a yoga sequence or flow.
- For an extra stretch between your shoulder blades: Go into cat-pose and then walk your hands to your knees.
- For increasing core control: Perform cat/cow with your knees lifted off the floor by just an inch or two. (at 0:40)
- Fun facts:
- If your abs are very sore and you go into cat pose with the knees lifted, you will feel the soreness intensity because of how much it makes you use your core.
- However, if your abs are sore and you get into cow pose with the knees on the ground, you will feel the abs stretching.
- Fun facts:
- If you find it really hard to keep a flat upper back in downward dog: Go into cow pose (the one where you stick your butt out) with your knees lifted and then raise your hips and you will enter DD with a flatter back with the seat bones lifting up to the sky.
Last but not least, do cat/cow with the hands elevated to stretch your lat, shoulders and get better posture!
Got tight lats/shoulders? Want a straighter handstand? A nicer downward dog? Better posture? I did the following stretch nearly everyday for over a year before I stopped feeling its benefits. It feels so wonderful and scrumdillyumptious that it makes me happy to finally be able to share it!
It’s not a particularly “intense” stretch… it’s more like a dynamic stretch I do that helps me limber up and reset my flexibility super fast. You’ll definitely feel it. Try it and let me know how it goes! (And make sure you put your knees far back enough as I instruct!)
Hope you liked that!