Cat Flow: A Corrective Intervention for Spine Health

Cat Flow: A Corrective Intervention for Spine Health

Cat flow posture is a classic yoga pose, and yet it still remains a staple for preventing back pain and spinal mechanics. Cat flow moves the spine from a rounded position (flexion) to the arch (extension)., ensuring that a neutral spine is maintained. A simple motion that is enormously beneficial for the health of the spine, pelvis and posterior chain.

The cat flow sequence can also be used as a corrective intervention; and is designed to stimulate the breath, mobility in the connective tissue and stability of the shoulders, trunk and lumbo pelvic hip complex.

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Some of these benefits include:

  • Reduce tension and stress to the low back
  • Activate the body’s natural relaxation response
  • Massage the organs in the belly
  • Improve expansion of the ribcage through breath
  • Promote activation of the core

Band Resisted Quadruped Cat Flow:

Start in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. The band should be placed around the mid back so that you can encourage the expansion of the ribcage.

Quadruped Cat Flow Hover:

Start in a “tabletop” position, using the same cues for the band resisted cat flow. Incorporating the “hover” into this exercise focuses on connecting the shoulders, to the ribcage/trunk and the trunk to the hips; while at the same time building resistance at the core.

Mind your breath and move at your pace to wind down your body and gently stimulate the spine and muscles of your back. Both of these exercises are great for building stability and pelvic position, as well as mobility of the spine.

Video link here:

Ode To Child’s Pose


We’ve all done it one way or another. Looked forward to the moment in a power class, in between vinyasas or after a long held side plank, that we can gently glide into the one and only, Child’s Pose or Balasana.

Sometimes we hold it longer or choose it over Downward Dog, just to get that wondrous lower back stretch a little deeper. Those hips opening a little wider. The thighs stretching, knees gently bending, head resting. Oh, it’s so good.

But at times, my ego gets in the way of my practice and I think my Child’s Pose tendencies just aren’t good enough. I’m spending too much time relaxing and not enough time challenging myself.

So lately, I haven’t been to many yoga classes, and instead I’ve been riding my bike to and from work. It’s an hour each way and definitely a challenge (for me at least). One thing I completely forgot about cycling is it’s pretty tough on one’s posture. I’m a little hunched forward and my neck is firmly held in the same position as I go over bumps and up and down hills.

I’ve been really  noticing the effects of cardio, which are great, but also the effects of not doing yoga. Unsure as to what stretch would help by upper spine and neck muscles, I went to my default before bed one night. Child’s Pose.

Amazing. Light stretching, deep breathing to really open up my ribs, arms reaching along the ground. I felt better after a few minutes.

I’ve heard several teachers call Child’s Pose one of the most important postures in yoga. So, I decided to explore it’s benefits as reinforcement (not that I need it) to sit back and embrace Balasana for all it’s worth.

I’ve found a nice explanation here: http://www.yogawiz.com/blog/yoga-benefits/yoga-for-child.html in an article called Child Pose Yoga: Relieve Stress, Anxiety, Tension And Fatigue

Here’s  an excerpt:

it helps to restore normalcy to your body’s circulation after performing the pose. Performing this pose is also beneficial for strengthening and toning the muscles in certain areas like the hips, ankles and thighs in particular… In addition to these benefits, the Child Pose also helps provide relief from certain types of back and neck pain.

So as much as our egos may want to throw us into something a little harder on the body, a little more physical, a little more active. There’s nothing quite like curling into that comfortable, beneficial ball with no worries and the ability to be completely present – just like a child.

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