WELLcome back! This week I’m sharing a simple, dynamic sequence, also known as a vinyasa. Cat-Cow connects two poses to create a flow. This beginner’s level vinyasa is helpful for teaching students how to sync movement and breath.
The Cat-Cow Flow:
- activates and stretches core muscles.
- strengthens shoulders and wrists.
- promotes focus.
- lengthens the spine.
- invites calm energy.
- exercises coordination.
- improves posture.
This flow supports emotional regulation skills. Students benefit from having a variety of tools to call upon for self-management. Synchronizing movement with breathing is a powerful, readily available practice to grow that toolkit.
Cat-Cow invites students to experience grounding sensations through a whole-body routine. However, students may apply a body-breath synchronization strategy in more subtle ways for practice in varied settings. For example, students can use a finger to trace their opposite hand’s outline while synchronizing their breath: Inhale, tracing up the side of the thumb. Then, exhale, tracing down the opposite side. Continue in this pattern to trace the remaining fingers.
Cat-Cow Flow Instructions:
(Provide verbal reminders for sequenced breath throughout this routine.)
- Lower your body to the mat/floor and support yourself on your hands and knees. Spread your fingers.
- Position yourself so that your knees are under your hips and your arms are straight with elbows and wrists under your shoulders. Your back should be flat. Do not tuck your chin or look up just yet. Keep your gaze looking straight to the floor below. This is table position.
- Begin the flow with Cow. Inhale as you raise your eyes/head to look up and lift your tailbone toward the ceiling. At the same time, drop your spine and belly towards the floor. Do not force this position. There should be no pain or discomfort in the neck or back.
- Pause and hold onto the inhale for just a moment in cow pose.
- Now, exhale as you drop your head/gaze and tailbone and arch your back like a cat. Look under your body with the chin slightly tucked and your spine stretched. Again, do not force this position. Protect your neck and back.
- Pause and hold cat pose for just a moment. Then move right into another inhale and cow pose.
- Continue in this pattern of flow for up to one minute. Then, return to the table position to end the vinyasa.
- Take a seated position, like easy pose, to investigate the energy in your body and consider if or how it has changed. Offer this reminder of the purpose and benefits of this practice:
My spine is a bridge, rising and falling, with inhales and exhales a flow.
Movement and breath together help me to let go.
9. Remain here for X seconds as you return to a relaxed, regular breathing pattern.
Additional Modifications: Students can sit in a chair with hands on their knees for this flow.
Use the button below to download the mini poster for the Cat-Cow Flow.
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