Cat-Cow Pose is one of the most basic yet effective poses that you can practice when using yoga for back pain relief. When combined with the flow of your breath, Cat-Cow Pose is one of the best ways to lengthen and stretch your spine and neck. As you move through Cat-Cow Pose you will actually feel the tension in your back release and experience immediate back pain relief.
What Is Cat-Cow Pose?
Cat-Cow Pose is a combination of two yoga asanas, or movements, typically found when practicing vinyasa yoga. Since vinyasa yoga utilizes breath-to-movement, as you move into Cat Pose, or Marjaryasana, you will exhale your breath and then inhale your breath as you move through to Cow Pose, or Bitilasana. Cultivating a long, slow breath while moving through Cat-Cow Pose will allow you to really deepen the stretch in your spine instantly relieve tension in your back.
How To Perform Cat-Cow Pose
1. Start on the ground with a neutral spine in table-top position with your knees and hands on the floor. Your knees should be hip distance apart in line with your hips and your arms should be straightened and in line with your shoulders. Keep your head in line with your body and either close your eyes or gaze towards the ground.
2. Take an inhale while in this neutral spine position and then slowly exhale your breath while rounding your spine towards the sky, keeping your hands and knees where they are.
3. As you round your spine you will gently release your head towards the ground while making sure not to tense your neck. Engage your lower core muscles and really try to bring your tailbone towards the center of your body while rounding your back as high as you can.
4. Once you have released your entire breath in Cat Pose start to inhale deeply while dropping your belly towards the ground.
5. Begin to arch your back and lift your chest towards the sky keeping your neck in line with your spine. Release your lower belly to the ground while actively lifting your tailbone to the sky.
6. After a full inhale while in Cow Pose, start to slowly exhale your breath and move through to Cat Pose once again. Continue through the Cat-Cow sequence as many times as you need, maintaining a slow and steady breath the entire time.
Benefits of Cat-Cow Pose
- Strengthens the spine and neck
- Stretches hips, back, neck, and shoulders
- Provides a massage for your internal organs
- Calms the mind through steady yoga breathing
- Realigns your body
- Improves coordination and balance
Using Yoga For Back Pain Relief
Cat-Cow Pose is a great tool that can be used on its own to relieve back pain but if you’re looking for long-term relief from chronic pain then I would recommend starting a total-body yoga routine. In my opinion starting a complete yoga routine is the best and fastest way that you can get lasting relief from chronic back pain.
I’ve personally struggled with chronic low back pain for over half of my life and after only a few months of regular yoga practice I started to find the relief that I had always been looking for. Cat-Cow Pose is one of my favorite poses that I practice that helps with my back pain and I still incorporate it into my practice today. It is amazing how much instant relief this pose can provide in such a simple set of movements.
The amazing relief that you get from even the most simplest of poses like Cat-Cow is just a taste of what a consistent yoga practice can provide for your body and your back pain. Yoga does not guarantee a quick fix to your pain but offers a practice that will start to repair your body from the inside out for the rest of your life.
What is your favorite yoga pose for back pain?
Stick With It!