If you’ve ever done yoga, you’re likely familiar with cat cow. These two stretches are cornerstones of a yoga practice, from beginner up through advanced classes. They’re gentle back stretches that happen one after another, following the breath.
To do cat cow, start in a kneeling position on a firm but comfortable surface, such as a yoga mat. If you have knee pain, you can place a blanket under your knees. If you have wrist pain, you can either fold your mat or place a blanket under the the base of your palms to relieve the pressure.
Start with a neutral spine, looking forward and down. Your knees should be hip width apart, with your lower legs straight out behind you. Your knees should be directly under your hips and your hands should be directly under your shoulders with your arms straight.
For cat pose, breathe out as keep your hands and feet where they are and arch your back up, letting your head relax down to lengthen the neck. For cow pose, breathe in and slowly raise your head as your drop your spine until you’re creating a hammock shape with your back — like a cow’s back looks. Continue to go back and forth between these two poses, led by your breath. Breathe in arch the back up; breathe out, relax the back down. Move back and forth between each pose 10 times each.