Although there are a number of different yoga poses, two popular poses used in both traditional yoga and seated yoga are the cat and cow poses. For many yoga practices, these two movements are combined into a single flow, called cat-cow. The cat-cow flow is a great way to stretch your spine a bit and relieve some of the tension that’s often held in your back, according to Women’s Health.
The cat-cow feed is traditionally done in a position where the individual is on all fours. It is important to ensure that in this position, the wrists are aligned with the shoulders and the knees are directly aligned with the hips. The cow part of the flow begins by inhaling and dropping the belly to the mat, tilting the hips, and lifting the head towards the sky or the ceiling (via Healthline). For the cat flow, the back is arched upwards while the hips are tilted inward and the head is lowered between the shoulders as you exhale. A variation of this flow is also available in a seated position, where the back and shoulders are arched forward for cow pose and backward for cat pose (via Yogapedia).
In both variations, when done correctly, you should feel a light to moderate stretch in your back, abdomen, and shoulders. Poor form can cause pain, so if you feel more than a deep stretch, you may need to reconfigure your body alignment.