Yoga for a strong and flexible back
Yoga for a strong and flexible back

The back muscles are one of the largest muscle groups the body has. The training of this muscle group provides a better posture and prevents injuries in the back, neck and shoulders. The Cat pose increases the flexibility and suppleness in the back and the best thing is that everyone can do this pose!

What is the Cat pose?

This is a basic pose; a balance exercise on hands and knees. In yoga jargon this pose is called “Utthita Chakravakasana”. Utthita means stretch and Chakravakasana stands for cat. This asana is also called the ‘cat-cow pose’. Because the breathing the back is first made into a ball (cat) and then hollowed (cow). And this is also where the power lies in this asana. By moving rhythmically on the breathing in and out, this pose is done best and able to train the body.

What is the effect of the Cat/Cow pose?

This asana increases the flexibility and suppleness of the back, also stretches the muscles in the arms and legs, and makes the hips and abdominal muscles stronger. It is an active basic asana that is done on the breath. By making the back convex and then hollowing, you emphasize the natural curvature of the spine and, in particular, relieve any tension in the lower back, shoulders and neck. It is important to breathe in and out through the nose. A hurried breathing creates tension in the body and has a counter-effect.

This is how you do the cat / cow attitude

  • Sit on your hands and knees. Important is that the knees are at hip width, arms are stretched and the hands under the shoulders, fingers spread for a better balance. In case of sensitive or painful wrists you can alternatively make two fists and rest on them.
  • The shoulders are pushed backwards, away from the ears, which directly reduces strain on the neck and shoulders.
  • In the starting position the back is straight and you look at the ground.
  • The toes are stretched or if that feels more comfortable, place the toes in the ground.
  • At the inhalation you push the chin towards the chest and you arch the back. Here you stretch the arms and push the weight with your hands (or fists) away from you.
  • On the exhale push the chin towards the ceiling and make the back hollow and push the shoulder blades towards each other, as in the picture above.
  • Repeat this least four times or more when you have sat a lot in one day.


Do you want to train your back more after doing the Cat pose? This video will help you


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Esther writes blogs for NiceDay and shars practical and interesting yoga tips and tricks that will truly benefit you. Her goal is to help you use practical yoga for a healthier and happier life. In 2018 Esther was the first yoga teacher that introduced online yoga classes in Europe. You can follow her classes online from any place or on any time you like. Want to know more? Have a look at her live online yoga studio:

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