Yoga: cat cow pose

Cat cow pose: Step 1

Picture of a woman in step one of the yoga cat cow pose
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Caution: If you have neck problems or an injury, keep your neck in the original position in line with your torso instead of moving it with your spine. If you feel any pain when you do this pose, stop. Talk to a yoga instructor about how to adjust the pose. Or ask him or her to teach you a different pose that doesn't cause pain.

Start out on your hands and knees on a mat or carpet with your body aligned so that your shoulders are directly above your wrists and your hips are in line with your knees. Your back should be flat, and your neck should extend out straight from your spine. Your gaze should be toward the floor below.

Cat cow pose: Step 2

Picture of a woman in step two of the yoga cat cow pose
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slide 2 of 3, Cat cow pose: Step 2,

On your next exhale, round your spine upward like a cat. Keep your knees and shoulders in place, but allow your head to bow toward the floor. Try not to let your chin fall to your chest.

Cat cow pose: Step 3

Picture of a woman in step three of the yoga cat cow pose
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slide 3 of 3, Cat cow pose: Step 3,

As you inhale, arch your back, lifting your chest and sit bones (the bones in your buttocks that you can feel when you sit on a hard chair) upward. When you do this, your belly will naturally move toward the floor. Your head comes up so that your gaze is straight in front of you (not looking upward).

Repeat the sequence 10 to 20 times. Make sure to do the movements as you breathe in and out.

Current as of: February 27, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health