While Cow Tilt and Cat Stretch may look “easy,” it is a powerful pose for the mind. The breath synchronized movement increases coordination, fosters intentional focus, and invigorates prana (the vital life force in the body). Furthermore, it is associated with increased emotional balance and stability of the mind.
Lastly, lengthening the spine improves circulation to the discs between the vertebrae, which in turn relieves stress from the back and calms the mind.
There are many physical benefits of Cat/Cow Pose, including toning the gastrointestinal tract and female reproductive system. The asana flow helps relieve stress from menstrual cramps, lower back pain, and sciatica. Cat/Cow Pose increases flexibility of the neck, shoulders, and spine. The movement also stretches the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen, chest, and lungs.
Cat Stretch held at its peak releases tension of the upper back and neck. Activation of the tailbone emphasizes the root movement of the spine, which increases flexibility for forward and backbends.
Additionally, the spine consists of both primary (thoracic and sacral) and secondary (cervical and lumbar) curves. Inhaling in spinal flexion (Cow Tilt) increases the primary spinal curves and decreases the secondary spinal curves. Exhaling in spinal extension (Cat Stretch) increases the secondary curves and decreases the primary curves.
Cat/Cow Pose strengthens and improves flexibility of the spine through utilization of the reciprocal relationship between the primary and secondary curves.
Cat/Cow Pose activates the Swadhisthana Chakra, the second chakra. When not fostered, a blocked second chakra is associated with deep emotional turmoil and depression. When nurtured, the movement enhances creativity and the ability to focus and learn.
The flow is attributed to connection with the inner source of inspiration and the ability to experience joy.