Stiffness of spine is a very common issues in the modern days life style, especially the time we get up in the morning. The common reason for these problems is lack of awareness towards minting a correct posture, long hours sitting in front of office laptop or excessive use of mobile phones, obesity, poor muscles tone, improper weight lifting or exercise methods etc. Stiffness of spine can cause back pain and if you do not pay attention, you may suffer with serious problems as spinal arthritis, slip disk, , nerve root pain, Herniated Disc, radiating down the legs, Numbness or pins-and-needles in an arm or leg etc.
Yoga offers a wonderful and effective method to maintain necessary suppleness of spine, which is certainly helpful in preventing all above condition. The technique mentioned below is recommended to practice under an expert yoga teacher.
The stretch is known as Marjariasana. The posture is done with the flow of the breath and it is commonly known as: “CAT STRETCH”
Steps for the Practice:
- Stand on your knees and put your palms on the floor. Arrange your arms and legs just like the 4 legs of a table and your spine forms the table top.
- Arms Position: Perpendicular to the floor, place your palms flat on the floor and under the shoulders. Don’t or get to spread your fingers widely.
- Knees Position: Just under the hips and are hip-width apart.
- As you begin to inhale, lift your chin and look towards the sky while trying to arch your lower back by lifting the tailbone by pushing your belly to the floor.
- As you begin to exhale, lift your chest against gravity while trying to round your spine by tucking your chin to the chest as well as your scooping your tailbone inward.
- You can hold at each position and take few normal breaths or you can practice this pose with the flow of inhalation and exhalation while not holding the final position.
- Cat stretch is extremely useful stretch for the entire spine and it certainly brings suppless in spine. This pose is a wonderful warm up before you begin your yoga practice and it is usually done as a preparation of other yoga posture as it stretches the spine in a very gentle way.
- Cat stretch also stretches the abdomen muscles and thus provides a good massage to the internal organs located around your abdomen area. You will experience better digestion and elimination with the regular practice of this posture.
- Therapeutically, it can prevent spinal related problems such as spinal arthritis, slip disk, back pain etc.
- Over strain on wrist can cause slight pain in your wrists. So avoid extending your shoulders over your wrist during the stretch.
- Too much pressure on lower back during upward facing cat sometime can cause lower back issues, so please avoid putting extreme pressing while holding the final position.
- If you have slip disk or spoliation, please avoid this stretch or do it under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher.
- Avoid this pose during pregnancy also as it can develop un-necessary pressure on abdomen region.