I once heard a teacher say, “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.”
I think it’s an old yoga adage and I think they are good words to live by. With the amount of dough, we spend on elixirs and anti-age this and age reducing that I am happy to say that this “anti-aging” posture is free and always available to you! Let's break it down…
In this video, we actually start with Table Top position. (2 for 1!)
The Cat-Cow Pose is often considered a “neutral” position in yoga but lately, I have been offering my students an opportunity to really play with opposition and sensation by using or connecting to an active table top pose as the warm-up for Cat-Cow. It is here that I offer students an opportunity to check in with their spine. Wake up spine! From the crown of the head to the tip of the tailbone lives a central energetic channel. From the ground to the crown as Shiva Rea calls it. Just by bringing our attention and awareness to this channel I believe we can improve our quality of life. A connection to this line improves posture, coordination, and brings on empowerment and grace. (More on this woo woo stuff later.)
At our table, we connect to the power of that central energetic channel (the danda, or staff, as it is in Sanskrit) and we fill the body with awareness. We press up and out of our limbs filling to the brim with sensation and breath. Then we let the floodgates go and boom we are in the Cat-Cow races! Start your vinyasa, or flow, nice and slow here. Notice the sensations. Be careful that you don’t just start going through the warm-up motions to get to the other asana. (Guilty)
Use this dance up and down the spine to check in with your back and tune into the whole body. As you journey up and down your spine close your eyes and see it move from the crown to your root. Integrate with the breath and you have yourself quite the little Yoga pose. Cat-Cow can be empowering and energizing! It will leave you feeling awake, loose, and with less tension and weight in the body. This is also a common pose in most Hatha Yoga classes so you will be well equipped if you hit the mat in a public setting. Throw down your inhibitions and enjoy Marjariasana-Bitilisana! Or as my pal, Dustin read it, “Marijuana Brita Filter.”
These days, I often find myself saying, “We are only as young and as happy as our spines” as we do Cat-Cow in class. Reminding students to take their time. Don’t miss the opportunity. Time with the spine can make you look and feel younger. That’s right, I said it. So, put some mindful time into the spine and of course, remember to ENJOY it.
Happy Addendum: Cat-Cow is fun and awesome for kids. Meow! Mooooo. Also, a juicy Pre-natal Yoga pose for soon to be Mommies.