Regardless of what you’ve heard, yoga is not just stretching. It contains so many more benefits than that, and is a magnificent exercise to implement into your life to reach your goals. I started yoga originally to decrease stress and relieve pain associated with my nursing job, but then soon realized how great of an exercise it was as well without having to get on a boring cardio machine.
It’s great because it is a low impact exercise, meaning you are not putting stress on your joints like you do with running and jumping, and is actually good for maintaining longevity in common problem areas such as your joints. The great thing about yoga is that it combines flexibility with strength, so you are becoming stronger while improving your range of motion as well.
This is actually two poses, but together they form a nice mini flow thatare great for stretching and warming up your back and neck.
Cow Pose specifically stretches your abdomen, shoulders, and chest, while Cat pose is great for stretching your neck and lower back.
Cow Pose Instructions:
- Start on your hands and knees, with your hands underneath your shoulders and your legs inner hip distance apart. Tuck your toes.
- Inhale as you drop your belly, arch your spine, and lift your gaze upwards.
- Make sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears
- From cow, exhale as you round your back, tuck your tailbone, hollow out your stomach, and drop your gaze downwards.
- Inhale back to cow pose, exhale back to cat pose.
- You can choose to stay in each pose for a few breaths, or you can use your breath to flow back and forth slowly between cat and cow to promote mindfulness.