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Yoga Poses That Heal and Strengthen Your Back

Cat cow is one yoga pose that anyone can practice to heal and strengthen the spine, even if you suffer from conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis. After mastering the basic position, adding arm and leg raises helps build even more strength. You can do any amount of the cat cow series that you like, depending on what you feel comfortable with. The goal is to provide your body with a challenge without feeling any sort of pain or discomfort.

  1. Begin on all fours with your knees aligned directly beneath your hips and hands aligned directly beneath your shoulders. If you have delicate knees, fold up the mat or use a blanket for extra padding.
  2. When you're ready, exhale to round your back and shoulders.
  3. Inhale to curl your spine in the opposite direction, reaching the crown of your head and tailbone toward each other.
  4. Focus on keeping your thighs and arms straight, like the legs of a table or posts of a bridge.
  5. Repeat for a few cycles of breath, exhaling to round your spine and inhaling to curl it back.
  6. If one side of your body is working harder than the other, you can restore balance by focusing on each side individually. Inhale to raise your right arm up off the mat, and exhale to replace it.
  7. For an extra challenge, raise your left leg simultaneously with your right arm as you inhale, and when you exhale, bring your arm and leg in together under your torso, trying to touch your knee to your elbow.
  8. If you need a break, come to child's pose by shifting weight back onto your thighs, with arms out in front of you, before moving onto the other side.
  9. Repeat with your left arm and right leg, inhaling to raise them off the mat and exhaling to touch your knee and elbow together.
  10. When you're done, reward yourself with another child's pose to give your body a chance to rest.


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