This is an oldie but goodie to include in your daily or regular yoga practice. It's simple enough for all beginners and has multiple benefits:
Stretches muscles of the hips, back, shoulders, arms and abdomen
Stimulates organs including gastrointestinal tract
Aids breathing by stretching chest and lungs
Relieves lower back pain and sciatica
Helps to ease back, shoulder and neck pain
Increases flexibility in the spine
Can help ease menstrual cramps
Perfect for relaxation
I love the simplicity of this pose and I also find it helpful in stretching my wrists which is great after being on my laptop for several hours. If you are working on balancing your chakras this is a great one for opening your sacral, heart and throat chakras as well.
For more benefit, breathe in and out with the rhythm of the pose. Traditionally, breathe in for Cow (when you arch your back) and breathe out for Cat (when you round your back). It can be done with the opposite as well, however. Experiment with what feels best for you and the breath count that works.
1. Begin in a neutral position with your wrists directly below your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers open.
2. Breathe in while arching your back, lifting your head up and tilting your butt up as much as you can.
3. Breathe out and round your back, bringing your chin towards your chest.
4. Repeat for one to two minutes following your breath.
For those with more limited mobility, or if you want to do this at work, you can do this sitting in a chair.
Tania Manczarek is a holistic therapist and swiss army knife. A trained therapist, intuitive energy worker, certified yoga instructor, massage practitioner and hypnotist, she focuses on healing through the mind/body/spirit connection and helping people in living an authentic life. Originally, from Los Angeles, she left to travel the world over 5 years ago, to find her own path of healing and to follow her dreams. Now living in France, she offers individual wellness services by phone/Skype, events and retreats in France and abroad and support groups for individuals with chronic illness. Her FB group is Feel Better Be Happy.