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Cat-Cow Stretch - Chakravakasana

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Updated January 27, 2014

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Begin on All Fours with a Neutral Spine
All Fours

All Fours - Neutral Spine

© Barry Stone
The cat-cow stretch is a yoga classic, and with good reason. It consists of moving the spine from a rounded position (flexion) to an arched one (extension). It's a simple motion, but one that is enormously beneficial in preventing back pain and maintaing a healthy spine. Each movement is done in conjunction with either an inhalation or exhalation of the breath, making this a simple vinyasa. If you already have back pain, check with your doctor before beginning to make sure these movements are appropriate for your condition.

Benefits: Improves spinal flexibility and abdominal strength.

Also Know As: Chakravakasana

Instructions:

1. Start on all fours, bringing the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips.

2. Think of the spine as a straight line connecting the shoulders to the hips. Try visualizing the line extending forward through the crown of the head and backwards through the tail bone. This is the position of a neutral spine.

3. Keep the neck long, as the natural extension of the spine.

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