Cats are experts when it comes to stretching, so it should come as no surprise that the Cat stretches out your spine, back, neck, and shoulders. This exercise works the same muscles as the Table, but you also stretch your spine and belly. Take your inspiration from a cat as you work through this exercise; do it a few times, and you’ll be good at stretching, too.
You need to strap on your ankle weights for this exercise. Ready to go? Follow these steps:
1. Get on all fours with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly below your shoulders. Make sure your fingers are spread wide for support.
2. Extend your right leg behind you, and look forward and up. This is the starting position. Draw your belly in and up and your tailbone down for support. Don’t rotate your leg (what a dog does next to a fire hydrant). Make sure it’s in line with the rest of your body.
Exhaling to a count of four, draw your right leg deep into your chest as you arch your back and look toward your navel. Point your nose at your pelvis as you move toward your bent knee. Don’t swing your leg; move it slowly in rhythm with your breathing.
4. Breathe four counts in and four counts out while in the tucked position.
5. Inhaling to a count of four, lift your head, flatten your back, and extend your right leg back to the starting position.
Keep your arms straight to stabilize and balance your body throughout this exercise. Make sure they stay directly below your shoulders. Do this exercise six to eight times with each leg, pause to rest, and then do it six to eight more times with each leg.