I am trying to do the Cat-Cow Stretch and don't seem to know how to use those muscles.

I got a physio routine from a doctor to help heal some inner-spinal muscles, which included among other similar stretches one he called the Cat Cow Stretch, which is well documented online, exactly how he described it. My problem is that I just kind of kneel there with a straight back and have no idea how to even move my body like that. I don't know if it is just locked because of pain or I have just never been able to use my muscles that way. sitting or standing I seem to be able to physically put some inwards and outwards pressure to stretch those muscles, but even then it basically remains straight.

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  • 4
    That stretch is performed by rotating the hips in sync with the head. More importantly, you should be posing this question to a therapist so they can monitor that you are performing the stretch correctly.
    – rrirower
    Apr 16, 2015 at 12:26
  • Great. That did seem to at least allow be to arch slightly. The doctor did not seem to feel it was important to make sure I was doing it perfectly, and never mentioned a therapist. He just drew a few little stick figures. So I am sure it will be fine.
    – Jonathon
    Apr 16, 2015 at 13:01
  • I agree with @rrirower to see a physio who will direct you in your exercises esp. since it does not come naturally to you. One session with a physio will probably save you time and give you better results in the long run. They will evaluate tight muscles, joint limitations and muscle weakness to give you a specific program. Apr 16, 2015 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


This exercise is commonly utilized in yoga practice. Your body alignment, breathing, and head movement are all important. Make sure to begin with your shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, and hips directly above knees (as shown in the images above). As you inhale, let your gaze trace up to the ceiling and backwards; your upper back should follow as you move your head and neck. With an exhale, bring your gaze inward towards your belly button and use your arms as if you are forcefully pushing the ground away; again, your back should follow the movements you're taking with your head, neck, and shoulders.

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