Ambitious Yoga Pose of the Month #3 (March 2013): Cat/Cow Tilts Happy March, everyone! Spring is almost here and we can finally say goodbye to those stiff and achy bodies that seem to be an inevitable part of the winter months. But there is one pesky area of the body that always seems to cause trouble no matter the time of year: your spine. Whether it’s your upper back, middle back or lower back, there’s probably not a person among us who doesn’t get a backache every once in a while. After all, the majority of us sit at desks the majority of our days and that can’t be good!
What is good is that there are certain things you can do to improve your spinal health AND, as luck would have it, I’m about to tell you how.
Did you know that there are 6 movements of the spine? You better, because you already did the first four in February’s Ambitious Yoga Pose of the Month. The first two involve lateral movements, otherwise known as side bending left and right. The next two are twists, which you can also do in both directions. And last but not least – just in time for March’s Yoga Pose of the Month – there’s flexion and extension, also known as forward bends and backbends.
The next pose in your Ambitious yoga sequence wraps up the 6 movements of the spine and, I will add, is one of my absolute favorites.
Ambitious Yoga Pose of the Month #3 (March 2013): Cat/Cow Tilts
· Transitioning from Yoga Pose of the Month #2 (Sukhasana), place your hands on the mat in front of you and begin to walk your hands forward, rolling over your legs and coming to all fours.
· Keep your neck in a neutral position to start in line with the rest of your spine.
· Hands should be underneath your shoulders and your knees should be underneath your hips.
· Maintain tone in the abdominal muscles by hugging the naval in toward the spine.
· As you inhale, life the chest and sit bones (those pointy bones underneath your bum) up toward the sky, arching through the back. This is Cat Pose.
· As you exhale, press the hands into the floor and begin to round through the spine, raising the spine up toward the ceiling as high as you can. This is Cow Pose.
· On your next inhale, transition to Cat Pose again.
· On your next exhale, return to Cow Pose.
· Continue moving on your own, transitioning to Cat as you inhale and Cow as you exhale for at least 8 complete breaths.
· When you are finished, end on all fours with a neutral spine.
If you can remember to move your spine in these 6 directions at least once every day, you are on your way to improved spinal health, posture, flexibility and more.
Enjoy and Namaste!