Asana Addict with Hanna Riley: Cat and Cow

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about how I perceive, now more than ever, that there is so much to celebrate, enjoy, be grateful for, and wondrous about. I wasn’t always this way. I used to reserve the most “happiness” for being excited about significant things, while perceiving all else as “normal.” While it is certainly true that some things are markedly more profound than others, what we often think of as “small celebrations” can actually be quite large. I can stand in front of my faucet and turn it on and off at any and every whim. There is fresh water, amazingly, wonderfully, thankfully. It’s true that the service of water is paid for, and dedicatedly worked for, but still, what a big, big blessing it is. Fresh water. A warm bed. Floors and walls and roofs and food! Freedom to make our own healthy choices and a body that moves. In the vein of simplicity, Cat and Cow poses are often considered just that…”simple.” Compared to Handstand, that may true, but, boy, what a priceless thing it is to be able to move well and comfortably in your body, on your mat and in your day. Nothing is too small to be given thanks for. Enjoy every little (and big!) thing, and you’ll find that your cup truly does runneth over.

ALIGNMENT AWARENESS

-Kneeling in Table pose, place your hands beneath your shoulders with your knees beneath your hips. Press firmly down through the tops of your feet and toenails, extending your big toes straight backwards to keep your ankles in a long line, rather than a splay. Spread your fingers comfortably wide and ground your inner hands. Rotate your triceps back to externally rotate your arms and firm your shoulders down, away from your years. These are also the same action taken in Downward Facing Dog.

-Deepen your inhale and draw your spine down into a backbend, looking comfortably forward as your tailbone lifts up. Keep your abdominal muscles active so that the depth of backbend doesn’t feel like a shove or a hang into any part of your spine, especially your lower back.

-As you exhale smoothly and deeply, round your back upward like a dome. Curl your pelvis upward toward your abdomen, lengthening your tailbone downward, away from your lower back. Continue to ground through your hands, arms straight, and draw your shoulders away from the base of your neck.

-Alternate with the pace of your breath, inhaling into backbend and exhaling as you round your spine. Continue for as few as five rounds or for several minutes. Enjoy the feeling of fluidity in your back, the chance to move blood and energy, taking a break from sitting and electronics, hydrating the discs and joints of your spine, and savoring in celebration the health and blessings you call your own!

 

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