The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have had a disastrous impact on the livelihoods of people as they juggled work, family responsibilities and household chores all while packed within the four walls of their house which left little or no time to prioritise exercising. Frequent numbness, tingling sensations in the hands from all those hours of rigorous typing, obesity, stiffness in the lower back and cervical pain are some of the common health hazards reported by office-goers sitting at the office desk for long durations or those working from home.
Here are the steps and benefits of Yoga’s Cat-Cow stretch or Chakravakasana which will be very helpful for people with a busy schedule:
Also called the cat-cow stretch, this Yoga asana targets the spine and abdominals and involves moving the spine from a rounded position (flexion) to an arched position (extension).
Stand on all fours to form a table top with your back while your hands and feet from its legs. Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor and place your hands flat on the floor, right under your shoulders while keeping your knees hip-width apart.
Curl your toes under and tilt your pelvis back so that your tailbone sticks up. Without moving your neck, let this movement ripple from your tailbone up your spine while letting your belly drop down.
Draw your navel in and keep your abdominal muscles hugging your spine. Now, without cranking your neck, take your gaze gently up towards the ceiling.
All this arching was for the cow pose while inhaling and now for rounding the cat pose, exhale and release the toes you had curled. Tucking your tailbone, tip your pelvis forward and let this action move up your spine again to make it naturally round.
Draw your navel towards your spine, drop your head and take your gaze to your navel. Matching the movement to your own breath, repeat the Cat-Cow Stretch on each inhale and exhale for 5 to 10 breaths.
Apart from supporting the back and easing pain, this exercise helps maintain a healthy spine during those long work duration before a computer screen by helping in improving the circulation in the discs in your back. The calming pose works as a good stress- reliever apart from helping one to improve their posture and balance.