Yoga is a great way for children to relieve stress, stay active, and keep their bodies growing strong. Cat Cow pose is a wonderful pairing which lets a child have fun while also building core strength and spine flexibility.
This pose can be modified to be useful for just about any age of child, from the very youngest all the way up through adults. This is a pose that even seniors find to be quite useful.
It’s good for an adult to model the pose so the child can see it visually. Also, children naturally want to emulate adults, so the more that adults show that yoga is a regular, enjoyable part of their lives, the more the student will join in.
The Cat Cow Pose Combination
Have the student get down onto a mat or carpet on their hands and knees. Their knees should be right under their hips and their hands should be below their shoulders. The arms and thighs should be reasonably parallel with each other.
Start with the back flat. This is the resting, neutral position.
Have the student drop down their abdomen and lift their eyes slightly up from level while breathing in. The lowered abdomen is like the udder of a cow. This movement causes the spine to bend down, flexing it. This is cow pose.
Now have the student exhale while arching their back up toward the sky like a stretching cat. Their gaze drops down toward the mat. This is cat pose.
Breathe in, and let the spine flex down, releasing the abdomen and filling it. The cycle should be slow, attentive, and steady. This isn’t a race. It’s about drawing in a long, full breath, filling the upper chest, mid chest, and then lower abdomen like a balloon.
Then breathe out, out, expelling the carbon dioxide and arching up. The spine flexes. The core builds strong. The world falls away.
Do ten cycles of these, up, down, in, out, with the breaths coming slower with each pass.
End in a back-neutral position and rest.
Benefits of Cat Cow Pose
Moving through the cat and cow poses brings a wealth of benefits including:
- Relieves stress
- Builds coordination
- Strengthens the spine
- Improves balance
- Stretches the abdominal muscles
- Helps with posture
Modifications for Cat Cow Pose
Every student will have their own conditions and challenges to work with. If the student’s knees hurt in the hands-and-knees position, it’s fine to have them kneel on a soft blanket. If a student’s wrists are giving them trouble, have them go down to their elbows in front. They’ll still be able to do a good spinal stretch.
For younger children, consider having them make noises like cats and cows while in those two halves of the pose. That can keep them engaged and make the exercise more fun for them.
For girls who are in puberty, cat cow pose is a gentle, natural way to ease cramps.
Cat cow pose are two of the simpler yoga poses out there and can be done by practically every person. It’s accessible and a wonderful way to introduce children to the world of yoga. It helps concentrate the mind and release stress.
Find ways to add yoga into your students’ daily routines. You’ll find it helps the body, mind, and spirit, all in one integrated package.