Spring is here! Hooray! I don’t know about you but my bones are creaky, my muscles are tight.
My mind wants to skip down the road in the spring sunshine admiring the daffodils and newborn lambs.
But my body is saying “wait a minute, you have spent the last 5 months bracing yourself against the chills”.
Cat-Cow is perfect for warming up, nice and gently. We tend to spend more time sitting over the Autumn and Winter, so this is great for gently loosening our hips, lower backs, and hamstring.
As always, take care when practicing any physical activity. If you have previous or existing injuries or health problems, or any new concerns whatsoever, check with your Doctor before trying anything suggested here. NEVER do anything that hurts. If it feels uncomfortable, please stop!
A combination of Cat Pose and Cow Pose, with a subtle transition between the two, co-ordinated with our natural inhale-exhale. It sounds a bit fractured, but is actually very simple and effective.
Come onto your hands and knees. Check your hands are directly under your shoulders, and knees directly under your hips, with your lower legs set straight behind your knees (as apose to turning in or poking outwards).
Take a moment to straighten your arms, spread your fingers and flatten your hands. This can be uncomfortable in the beginning. You may find your elbows want to bend, and your hand and fingers don’t want to sit flat. With practice this may become easier as the muscles and tendons gently lengthen.
Start in “neutral”. Your neck, back and hips all in their natural position. Let your eyes gaze to when they want to. All without any strain or effort. Neutral! And then we begin a steady and slow rhythmical Cat-Cow.
As you inhale – come into cow. Slowly lift the chin, let your belly drop, and your pelvis tilt so your tailbone points up. Fill your lungs.
Then exhale – gently curl into cat. Roll your chin into your chest, allowing your spine to then naturally arch up and your tailbone to point down.
The inhale again into cow – creating a nice easy gentle rhythm. Continue for a few cycles in the beginning, perhaps closing the eyes and practising for longer if and when you feel comfortable.
If you suffer from problems with your wrists, shoulders, lower back or hips, you may find this uncomfortable. I would advise you to grab a chair, or sit in rock pose and practice an upright version. The chair version is also great if you spend a lot of time at a desk. You can curl and arch the spine with the same rhythm, for the same benefits.