Mindfulness Activity #172
Cat & Cow Spine Stretch Practice
Good morning! Mindfulness seeks to have us pay attention to all of our experience—body and mind. Yoga is a wonderful mindfulness practice because it involves breathing and attending to specific parts of your body. You do not have to be a yoga expert to do this beginners stretch. Chakravakasana, also known as the cat -cow stretch, is a simple way to stretch your spine and to connect your breath and body.
Begin on all fours with your hands under shoulders and knees under your hips. Take a deep breath in and as you are inhaling, drop your head down, and tuck in your stomach muscles as you round your spine, pulling it to the your back to the ceiling. This is the cat pose. Hold for 10 seconds in the cat pose.
Then exhale slowly. As you exhale, pick up your head and arch your back, pulling butt and shoulders up in cow pose (see picture). Hold cow pose for 10 seconds.
Round again on your next inhale as you go back to cat and hold for 10 seconds. On your exhale, return to cow with back arched and head, shoulders and butt going upwards. Vinyasana means linking your breath with your movement. Try to make these breaths and body transitions smooth and connected without any bouncing or jerking. You can gently shift from cat to cow for 5 minutes. When you are finished, you may choose to stand or lay flat on your back and stretch arms over your head as tall as you can stretching fingertips to toes.
Take a last breath in and out to finish your practice. Remind yourself to breathe deeply throughout your day, connecting to your body and anchoring you in a moment.
Have a peaceful day!