Cat Cow Yoga Pose Incredible Health Benefits

Pose Marjaryasana or pose Bidalasana is the name for cat posture, and Bitilasana is the name for cow posture in the cat cow yoga pose.
Together cat cow yoga pose makes chakravakasana, and this posture involves moving the spine from a rounded position to an arched position. The flexing and stretching of the spine are accompanied by inhalation and exhalation of breath in the respective positions.
The posture has many added benefits for spine problems and is also done in routine exercise as a part of warmup or relaxation.

1. How It Works

When you inhale and tilt your pelvis for the cow pose, blood circulation starts in the part which was stressed for a long after being in a constant position. When you relax and get back to the cat position, the movement reverses the circulation, and you exhale out the bad air with it.

2. Benefits Of Cat Cow Yoga Pose

2.1 Relaxation

The pose is accompanied by inhalation and exhalation and involves movement with your breathing. So it relaxes both mind and body.

2.2 Stress Reliever 

The pose relaxes the body and mind; this is a good stress reliever.

2.3 Improve Flexibility

Cat-cow yoga pose involves the abdomen, navel, lungs, hips, and chest. The continuous stretch and relaxation increase flexibility in the back and abdomen area.

2.4 Good for Emotional Balance

The inhalation and exhalation are done during the stretching and relaxing of the spine and back to relax both the body and mind. Thus, it helps create emotional balance.

2.5 Strengthening of Internal Organs

The cat cow yoga pose strengthens kidneys, adrenal glands1, and lower abdomen area by massaging them.

2.6 Strengthen the Spine

Many people who work for hours in front of the computer develop several spine-related problems. Doing the cat-cow pose during the exercise routine will relieve their spine and neutralize the stiffness.

2.7 Fat Reduction in Belly

The belly fat is the most stubborn one. So, do a cat cow yoga pose to wave goodbye to the belly fat. Yoga is beneficial in the reduction of belly fat as it involves the belly. So, if you do it regularly, you will surely see the change.

2.8 Improves Digestive System

Yoga makes use of the belly and abdomen region as well as massages the internal organs. This yoga pose can immediately cure digestion or gas problems.

2.9 Improves Posture

The movement of the body from the tailbone to the lower back until the neck strengthens the whole system, including the spine and neck muscles, and thus improves posture.

2.10 Increases Core Strength

Core strength increases as you increase your retention power of the pose. Increase your time limit by 30 seconds in every session and see the change.

2.11 Muscle Gain in Limbs

The cat cow yoga pose increases blood flow from your back to your limbs. So your limbs get extra air and blood, thus gaining muscles and growing stronger.

2.12 Prevents Arthritis

Arthritis 2generally comes with aging when your cartilage starts wearing out. With the increase in age, each part of the body doesn’t get equal nutrients, given the lesser activity in older adults. The cartilage is like a sponge. They won’t gain any fresh nutrients until the earlier one is squeezed out. So when you move your body in cat cow yoga, the cartilage in the back and other involved parts gets new nutrients by squeezing out and soaking up and thus gaining some more life span.

2.13 Good for Back Pain

People who suffer from back pain must include cat cow yoga in their exercise routine. Doing this regularly will decrease the stiffness around your back, and gradually the pain in your back will vanish.

2.14 Good for Menstrual Pain

The cat cow yoga has been proved to be very useful for women as the stretching helps ease the pain in periods. In addition, it tones the reproductive organs of the women.

2.15 Prenatal Yoga

It is also used as prenatal yoga(only after doctor’s recommendations) for pregnant ladies. It decreases the pain that one suffers during the pregnancy and keeps the baby healthy by proper blood circulation. Still, It should not be overdone or exercised without being prescribed by your doctor.

2.16 Warm Up the System

Due to the simplicity of the cat cow yoga pose. People use it as a part of warmup sessions before proceeding to other physical workouts.

2.17 Relax the System

It is recommended to do some relaxation poses after strenuous workouts. For example, the cat cow yoga pose can be used to relax after such strenuous exercises.

3. How to Do the Cat Cow Yoga Pose

3.1 Preparation Position-

  • Take a yoga mat and kneel and touch the floor with your hands.
  • Let your knee also touch the floor.
  • Now try aligning your spine in a straight line, meeting your shoulders and hips.
  • Your position should match a toddler trying to walk in fours. Only you are not moving, and your spine is in a straight line.
  • Fix your feet’ position such that your toes are touching the mat.
  • Try looking forward by keeping your neck straight.

3.2 Inhale and Do Cow Pose

  • Curl your toes under
  • Start by tilting your pelvis back and sticking out your tailbone
  • When your tailbone is up, your lower back will make a curve downward.
  • Now, starting from your navel to your abdomen, the line should go gradually up so that you stick out your neck in the last.
  • Take your gaze up slowly without breaking anything
  • Feel the movement going from your lower back and stretched abdomen toward your neck

3.3 Exhale and Do Cat Pose

  • Relax your feet
  • Tuck in your tailbone and move your pelvis or lower back forward
  • Your spine will now be round
  • Lower your head and gaze
  • Relax your body

Repeat the cat cow yoga practice 5-10 times, along with inhalation and exhalation. After it’s done, you can relax your body as you did in the preparation position, i.e., back to the neutral spine.

4. A Variation in Cat Cow Yoga Pose

4.1 Chair Yoga Pose

It is for those who can’t go on all fours. The chair yoga pose is a variation of the cat cow yoga pose done on a chair in a sitting position.

Is It The Same?

Yes, it’s the same because it involves similar movement in the pose as in cat cow yoga3.
If you find it difficult to get on all fours on the floor due to physical reasons, you can try out this chair yoga pose.

How To Do It

HNH Fitness: Chair Yoga Cat/Cow

Preparation Phase
  • Sit on a chair taking in the full seat.
  • Place your hands on your knees and let your feet lie flat on the floor
  • Your head should be held high and your spine straight, just like you are sitting for an interview
Cow Pose
  • Inhale
  • Tilt your pelvis and lower back inside such that your belly is round
  • Stretch your shoulders and neck in one line, going up.
  • Gaze at the ceiling keeping your neck upward
Cat Pose
  • Exhale
  • Tilt your pelvis and lower back outside
  • Lose your shoulder blades and neck
  • Gaze your belly and relax

Repeat 5-10 times, accompanied by inhalation and exhalation

5. Beginner’s Takeaway

  • If you are doing cat cow yoga for the first time, this could look like a tough pose. So take the help of your friend or instructor. Ask them to support your back by placing their hands.
  • Between and above the shoulder blades. This would activate the region, and you would have control over any unnecessary movement until you learn the pose.
  • Do a little warm-up before you come to the pose. Align yourself in the preparatory phase for a longer time to prepare your muscles for a stretch.
  • Do not overdo it or go in haste while doing the pose, as it may look simple, but it can harm very soft organs of your body.

6. Challenge yourself

If you have already mastered the pose and want to increase your core strength by going to level 2, you must try the variation of the basic pose.

6.1 Level 2

  • Get on all four
  • Exhale and take up the cat or counterpose
  • Turn your head to focus on your right hip
  • In the same position, try moving your hip in a forward movement toward your head.
  • Inhale and repeat the process.

6.2 Want To Try More Variations

  • Start with the preparatory position.
  • Move the hands in a forward movement and the hips in a circular
  • Then inhale and move forward and exhale to move backwardRepeat 5-10 times

7. Do’s and Don’ts

7.1 Do’s

  • Always take recommendations from your doctor before including any yoga or exercise in your routine.
  • If you have a neck injury, don’t stretch in it too much or ask your doctor before doing.
  • You can test your strength in the cow pose by holding it there for 1 minute. You can also increase the time slowly in the follow-up sessions.

7.2 Don’ts

  • Don’t do Heavy and forced tilting while you are pregnant
  • Avoid doing yoga when you have any injury in the spine or lower back
  • Do not continue it if you feel any sharp pain in the area. Doing so might invite the unprecedented.
  • Avoid overstretching your neck with force while in cow pose. Also, while lowering down, try going slowly.

8. The Bottom Line

Finally, the Cat Cow Yoga Pose has several physical and mental health advantages. This dynamic position serves to promote total body awareness, build the core muscles, and enhance spinal flexibility.

The spine is stimulated, tension is released, and appropriate alignment is promoted by arching and rounding the back. The pose’s rhythmic movement also promotes blood circulation, which boosts the health of the tissues and organs.

In addition, Cat Cow Pose encourages deep breathing, which can improve lung capacity and boost oxygen intake while lowering tension and anxiety. The physical and mental benefits of daily yoga practice can be enhanced by including Cat-Cow Pose.

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  1. Egalini, Filippo, et al. “Endocrine disrupting chemicals: effects on pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands.” Endocrine 78.3 (2022): 395-405. ↩︎
  2. Radu, Andrei-Flavius, and Simona Gabriela Bungau. “Management of rheumatoid arthritis: an overview.” Cells 10.11 (2021): 2857. ↩︎
  3. Aprillia, Salwa Rizky, S. Sri Wahyuni, and Dhias Widiastuti. “The Effect Of Yoga Training Butterfly Pose, Child Pose, Cat And Cow Pose On The Intensity Of Primary Menstrual Pain (Dysmenorrhea).” Journal of Applied Health Management and Technology 5.2 (2023): 41-49. ↩︎

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