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24 October 2007

The Cat and Dog

These yoga exercises help to keep your spine flexible. They condition and strengthen the back muscles, and tone and firm the tummy muscles.

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These yoga exercises help to keep your spine flexible. They condition and strengthen the back muscles and tone and firm the tummy muscles. They improve general circulation and will help to ease lower back strain.

Watch out

  • Avoid if you suffer from epilepsy
  • If you feel any pinching in your lower back, you have pushed yourself too far.

1. Table: Come on all fours. Hands underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips. If your knees feel uncomfortable, fold up a towel and place it under them. Arms strong and straight, don't sag in the shoulders, don't overextend your elbows (if you bend, the elbows bend sideways). Hands flat on the floor, fingers wide and looking forward. Inhale.

2. Cat: Exhale. Round the back, pull in your tummy, drop your chin to your chest, round your shoulders and push hips forwards. Press upper back to the ceiling.

3. Dog: Inhale. Drop the tummy, arch the back by raising your tailbone (coccyx) and head up towards the ceiling, pressing your chest down towards the floor, look up.

Cat Stretch Variation:

To strengthen the lower back and legs.

1. Table: Kneel on all fours.
2. Inhale. Lift one leg straight up behind you, raising the head at the same time, arching the back.
3. Exhale. Bring knee of raised leg in to forehead.

One-arm Cat Stretch:

If you have scoliosis this may be difficult at first, but as your back gets stronger, you will be able to stretch further.

1. Table. Kneel on all fours. Take your right (or left) hand to the back and reach towards the diagonal shoulder blade. Inhale.
2. Exhale in Cat.
3. Inhale in Dog.
Rest afterwards in the Child's Pose.

(Pics: Spirit of Light Yoga Studio, Terry de Vries, Stellenbosch, Tel (021) 883-9938)

 
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