Common Misalignments of Cat/Cows (and how to fix them)

Cat and Cow are actually two distinct poses, but more often than not, they are practiced together, moving with the breath. Inhaling for one, and exhaling for the other. You’ll usually find them at the very beginning of a class as part of the warm-up. Or maybe it’s at the end when you’re starting to cool down and make your way to the floor series.

Its goal is to gently articulate your spine, stretch your back and neck,k and stimulate the abdominal organs. The cat stretches muscles between the shoulder blades and the thoracic spinal cord. Cow opens up the front with a stretch of the abdomen, neck, and shoulders.

This combination is perfect for all yogis — beginners, old hands, kids, postnatal, and everyone else in between. It’s accessible. It calms and reduces anxiety. Regular practice can help prevent back injuries and even turn breech infants to the head-down position before birth.

Here are the most common Cat/Cow misalignments and how to fix them.

The wrists should be directly below the shoulders.

When you come up on all fours, make sure your wrists are under your shoulders. You can easily have your wrists creep forward or reverse, which puts unnecessary pressure on the wrist fold.

Check that the wrist crease is aligned with your shoulder.

Knees directly below hips

As with the previous tip, you should make sure that your hips are directly over your knees and not leaning either forward or backward.

When your hips are out of alignment with your knees, it can cause additional pressure to be placed on the top of your kneecap. They can also limit your spine’s range of motion if they are too far behind.

Knees and Shins on Hip Width

It’s important to keep your knees and shins at hip width. It is also important to keep the width of your shins and your knees at hip width. Your toes should not touch or your heels too far apart.

This pose is all about clean, straight lines. You want to make sure that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. Also, you should have your wrists and armpits (shoulders) at 90 degrees.

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