Yoga Asanas: Cat Pose
The Cat pose may seem to be easy. This may be true, but it is a wonderful pose to help develop concentration and awareness. This is because you visit the spaces between each of the vertebral joints in an effort to mobilize them. This pose can also help establish a steady breathing rhythm. You are matching the movements of your body to follow your breathing during the Cat pose.
First you need to get onto your hands and knees. As you inhale, lift your tailbone and head and make your back concave. Your lower back should dip down easily. It will take a bit more effort, however, to get your upper back into the concave position. Instead of doing it the easy way, stay mentally present in the pose. Move the downward curve to the thoracic area. All the muscles along the spine should be working. In particular, you should feel the muscles in the middle and upper back start to work as you move your breastbone forward. Be sure that you do not collapse your shoulders. And, keep your elbows as straight as possible. Turn your face toward the sky and keep the back of your neck soft.
Each time you exhale, round up your entire back. Your shoulder blades should spread wide apart. The muscles of your upper back and neck should be released. The upper back is easy to arch into this shape that is natural. Press the vertebrae of your lower back towards the sky, as well. Your tailbone should tuck well under and your chin should press into your throat. Feel the skin on your back stretch as you press your hands into the floor.
This asana should be performed with a steady flow so each round up takes an entire exhalation and each downward arching takes an entire inhalation. Time the arching of your back so that the movement starts as you begin to inhale or exhale and ends just as your breath tapers out. This will take a bit of practice.
Be sure to start slowly and get the feel of each asana before you move on to the next. Yoga should help you feel better. It should never cause you injury.