Friday, July 26, 2013

Fitness Friday - Cat and Cow Sequence Part 1

This week's Fitness Friday post veers of the course that we have taken for the past two weeks, we are moving away from food and juice and now we are going to look at beginner yoga poses.  I started doing yoga lessons at the beginning of this month and I have been really enjoying it so far and wanting to learn more with each passing week.  We start with warm ups and then do a whole hour of the primary sequence and move on to cooling down, I have increased my flexibility a good amount but still have more to work on with upper body strength.  Once I have my upper body strength built up, then I can start inverting and building up my poses.

We are going to start with a core beginner yoga sequence, this is one that is often used in warm ups and one that anyone can do to improve posture and flexibility.  This is the first part of a two week post, today we will look at Cat position and then next week we will look at Cow position.  They can be done in a sequence or done individually during stretching.

Cat is an early front runner for my favorite yoga position, the name itself makes me want to love it and I love the benefits of the position even more.  I tend to do make a sequence of this position with the Cow position and use them in my opening sequences of my yoga session.  If you do this pose alone or in the sequence, this is one of the best back stretches that I have ever done.

The Yoga Journal website provides a photo of the position and instructions on how to achieve the best posture in the position.

"Start on your hands and knees in a "tabletop" position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor."

"As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest."

"Inhale, coming back to neutral "tabletop" position on your hands and knees."

"This pose is often paired with Cow Pose on the inhale for a gentle, flowing vinyasa."

This sequence is very versatile, I have used it to warm up for yoga and for any type of cardio workout.  I also use it in the morning to wake up and I know people who have used it to help fall asleep at night.  With use of that logic, it could also be used to relieve tension and stress throughout the day.  I would recommend it to those who spend most of their days working in an office setting and experience back pain...only if their co workers could not see what they are doing of course.

Next week we will look at the Cow position and then how to best use the two positions in sequence, I recommend trying this position to start getting the feel of the stretch and then mixing it up with the Cow position that we will look at in detail next week.

photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

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