Yoga Tip #4: Cat Pose


or Cat Pose, is a wonderful pose to wake up the spine, stretch the upper back, and strengthen the core.

Wake up the Spine!
Wake up the Spine!

Try this pose as part of your morning routine and you will enter the day feeling graceful as a feline!

Begin by coming onto your hands and knees, making sure that shoulders line up over your hands, and hips are in line with your knees.Inhale and lift the trunk of your body up and off of your shoulders, creating long arms as if you are reaching down toward the floor.  Keep your fingers spread wide and the weight evenly distributed across all fingers, avoiding too much weight on the wrist.

When moving into Cat Pose, named such because it resembles the arched back of a hissing cat,  move your spine slowly, in rhythm with your relaxed deep breathing.  In a neutral spine, allow your lungs to fill completely, expanding the abdomen, ribs and upper chest.  Then as you exhale, begin to tuck the tailbone under in a pelvic tilt.  Next draw the lower back up into a curve, leading to the upper back. Fingers push into the floor, keeping the arms reaching long. Spread the shoulder blades as the navel pulls back and up,  rounding the spine as it reaches its peak and then slopes downward into the neck.  Lastly, allow the head to relax, bringing a gentle stretch to the back of the neck.

Cat PoseInhaling, try to reverse the action by first releasing the neck, then the upper back, the belly, the lower back, and finally returning the tail bone to its initial level position.

Repeat 5-10 times, then sit back into child’s pose before lifting your head, finding your center, and moving into the rest of your day, as sleek as a kitten.