I have a routine of exercises and stretches I do every day. This started with going to the physical therapist and getting learning things to do to help alleviate my back pain. After many trips to different physical therapists throughout my life, I have come to the realization that physical therapy only works if it is done long term. So the last time I agreed to try it again, I decided that I was going to do everything the therapist told me, and I was going to make it a lifestyle. Over time, I have added extra elements to the routine.
I have always liked yoga; since I first tried it, I have noticed how it helps relatively fast. So, I have added different movements throughout the hour and a half that I exercise in the mornings. One yoga pose that I absolutely love is the cat and cow. I didn’t know what it did for me, but I knew that it helped my back pain and was a natural transition from a stretch called Elvis pelvis to the exercise called horsestance. Recently, I learned that cat and cow pose actually does a lot for our bodies. No wonder it is just a natural feel good movement.
It is said that cat and cow helps with spinal stretch and pain relief, which I knew. It also helps with the heart and lungs through the stretching and breathing. The movement stimulates and massages the digestive system, the kidneys, and the adrenal glands. And like all yoga moves, this pose helps with flexibility, circulation, sleep, posture, balance, coordination, and emotional balance (stress and calmness). These are all reasons to do this simple movement multiple times throughout the day.
Many of us have jobs where we are hunched over a desk. This pose helps to counterbalance the posture we get through our desk work. But back pain comes from standing a lot or bending repetitively. This pose also relieves the pains from these movements. I suffer from chronic back pain, and all these things will aggravate my back. Yoga in general will help; cat and cow specifically helps quickly.
To begin, get on your knees and hands – crawling position. This can be done on the floor or on the bed. I have knee problems too, so I use a foam mat on the floor. Make sure your knees are directly under the hips and your hands are in line with your shoulders. This is the most important part of this pose. I like to rock back and forth a little first because my wrists and hands are usually stiff in the morning. Then tilt the pelvis forward (downward) inhaling as you move. Hold a second or two and breathe all your air out as you tilt the pelvis back (upward) squeezing your stomach as you reach the maximum movement. If this hurts, back it off and don’t move as drastically. Repeat this several times and try periodically through the day.
I hope that you will receive the benefits of cat and cow as I have.