Shilpa Shetty's cat camel stretch is worth a try; here's why. (Photo: Varinder Chawla/Shilpa Shetty/Instagram; designed by Gargi Singh)
Back pain is a common health issue which is experienced by many people, who more often than not complain about stiffness and muscle spasms. So naturally, when one faces these issues, they tend to stay away from exercising altogether. But actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra, who herself suffered back pain, highlighted that one should exercise regularly, while also sharing how yoga transformed her life.
Shetty shared, "I've suffered from muscle spasms and back stiffness very often in the past. When I started yoga, I was skeptical about performing a lot of the complex asanas. Being able to flex and stretch the way I can today has been a very steady and gradual process made possible by two things: yoga and my will-power."
She also shared a video of herself performing the Cat Camel pose which is better known as Cat Cow Pose, or the Marjaryasana-Bitilasana asana which is known to lend flexibility to the spine. The gentle movements stretch the back torso and neck while softly stimulating the abdominal organs. It is also known to make deep breaths easier.
Shetty shared, "Today, I can easily move my back while practicing asanas like the #CatCamel pose. It’s a very easy asana, but it helps improve the spine's flexibility, strengthens the wrist and the shoulder, helps relax and calm the mind. Enough motivation to start the week on an energetic note."
Here's what you should know about the posture
*In addition to easing spinal tension, this pose sequence calms the mind and relieves stress.
*The pose helps in toning the gastrointestinal tract.
*It helps relieve menstrual cramps.
*While increasing the flexibility of the neck, shoulders, and spine, the sequence also stretches the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen, chest, and lungs.
*Cat Stretch releases the tension of the upper back and neck. Activation of the tailbone emphasises the root movement of the spine, which increases flexibility for forward and back bends.
How to perform the asana
*Sit in kneeling position and gradually place your hands on the floor and stretch them forward so as you resemble a cat on all fours. Place your shins and knees hip-width apart. Centre your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward.
*Begin by moving into Cow Pose which means you inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
*Broaden your shoulder blades; draw your shoulders away from your ears.
*Next, move into cat pose which means as you exhale, draw the belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back.
*Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest.
*Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
*Repeat five-20 times, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.
While in the first half of the pose or Marjaryasana, the back rounds and the head releases gently toward the ground, in the second half (Bitilasana), the belly sinks toward the ground, creating an arch in the back, and the gaze is directed upward.
Here's how to derive optimum benefits from the posture
*Although simple, this asana requires precise body positioning for safety and maximum benefit.
*One should also keep the knees directly under the hips and the hands should be positioned directly under the shoulders.
*For those with knee or wrist pain, the asana can be practised while seated upright in a chair.