Warming Up With a Yoga Cat and a Cow

RethinkCare logo
RethinkEd logo
RethinkBH For Providers logo
RethinkBH For Health Plans logo

By: BodiMojo Staff

Woman doing yoga

Share with your community

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

By Meghan Meade

Meow? Moo?  Ah, cat and cow, two of the most common poses in a typical yoga warm-up. Whether you’re a teen yogi or adult, these poses sound kind of funny. Who would’ve put cats and cows together? Not exactly a match made in heaven.
 
But in yoga, the two animals go together like peanut butter and jelly. First of all, both postures take their names from their similarities to the animals they’re named after: the cat refers to the arched-back position of a scared kitty, while the cow posture refers to a dip in the spine like a grazing cow.
 
Also, both cat and cow and meant to stretch and warm up the spine, which is really important in yoga. There is some twisting and bending of the spine in most yoga classes, and doing this without a proper warm-up can cause serious injury. Stretching the spine with the cat and cow poses prepares the back so it is more than happy to slide into bendy postures and twists.
 
The spine is considered the center of energy, so by treating the back with care we can improve our health and well being. And warming it up with some cat and cow stretches is a great way to get started by activating certain muscles, releasing tensionstretching the body, and helping to release toxins in our organs. 
 
Tips for Cat and Cow Pose:
  1. Come into a tabletop position with the palms down and stacked under the shoulders, knees on the mat or floor undernearth the hips.

  2. Next, on an exhale, press the palms into the mat and round the spine by pressing the upper back towards the ceiling so you feel the space across the shoulder blades growing. Also make sure to curl the tailbone under by engaging your stomach muscles and round the shoulders so you are looking down towards  Once you have completely exhaled all the air in your lung, congratulations! You’re in cat.

  3. Now, take a deep breath in as you draw the belly towards the mat, creating a dip in the spine. Let the shoulder blades press together and pull the chest forward while letting your gaze float up towards the ceiling. Push the tailbone out as if you’re going to make an imprint on the back wall with your butt. Silly, for sure, but that’s the way it’s done.You’re now in cow pose.

Flow from cat to cow several times, making sure that you come into cat on an exhale and into cow on an inhale. Linking breath to movement is an important component of yoga and will help you to get the most benefits from the postures.
 
Cat and Cow Bliss
 
When I first started doing yoga, I would always feel self-conscious doing cat and cows in class. I knew everyone else around me was doing it too, but I just felt silly when wagging and rolling my spine, tucking my butt under and pushing it out.  It seemed exaggerated and awkward. But somewhere along the line, I forgot about the awkwardness and started to realize that it actually felt good.
 
Really, really good. Especially after having been cramped in a desk chair for several hours, or all day. The spine gets so tense on a daily basis from just simple movements – or lack thereof. By moving the spine gently through cat and cow, we can release tension and get some circulation flowing, which makes the body happy.
 
We each get only one body to carry us through life; the sooner we can learn to treat it with care and respect, the better off we’ll be for the long run. Realizing this, I came to be an eager practitioner of cats and cows, and you can too.
 

This article is republished from Bodimojo’s website here with their permission.

Photo by Rima Kruciene on Unsplash

Share with your community

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Sign up for our Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the latest industry updates, Rethink happenings, and resources galore. Simply follow the link to the footer and enter your email.

Related Resources

Podcast
  About this Podcast Episode On this episode, Angela and Kristin invite a guest, Pasha...
NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — RethinkFirst, the leading software and solutions provider in behavioral health, today...
Podcast
  About this Podcast Episode On this episode, Angela and Kristin discuss setting realistic expectations...

Learn more about Rethink

African American male and Caucasian woman working on laptop drinking coffee
RethinkCare logo

Take care of your people with RethinkCare’s evidenced-based solutions that support the well-being your entire employee base in all aspect of their lives - from personal to parenting, and professional

For Employers ›
School learning with diverse middle school students
RethinkEd logo

Build strong school communities and healthy, safe learning environments for all your students with RethinkEd’s evidence-based strategies and technology solutions across SEL, Special Ed, Behavioral & Training

For Educators >
Doctor helping girl with psycho pedagogical intervention
RethinkBH For Providers logo

Start, grow and manage your practice with Rethink’s workflow automation and evidenced-based clinical best practice tools that help you optimize outcomes and operations

For Providers >
African American women talking while seated
RethinkBH For Health Plans logo

Support your members and your provider networks with Rethink’s solutions that support autism care management across your network while offering unique value-added services to your members.

For Health Plans >
logo rethinkfirst white

Together We’re Powering Potential

Transforming the Behavioral Health landscape requires scalable platforms that address a broad range of mental, emotional, and wellness needs. At Rethink First we are proud to work across the continuum of care to help individuals and the people they care about live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.

New call-to-action

The leading behavioral and mental health enterprise platform to support working parents, caregivers and their families.

For Employers ›
New call-to-action

Award-winning solutions empower districts and their educators to improve outcomes and wellness for all tiers of students and to build healthy and safe learning environments.

For Educators >
New call-to-action

Fully integrated workflow automation and evidenced-based clinical tools help behavioral health organizations optimize outcomes and operations.

For Providers >
New call-to-action

Patent-pending clinical solutions and member engagement services streamline autism care management processes and support outcomes for health plans, providers, and members.

For Health Plans >