Variation on Dancing Cat

Here’s another one I came across in San Francisco. I’ve seen dancing cat before (from hands and knees, extend one arm and the opposite leg on an inhale, then bring elbow to knee on an exhale), but this is a fun variation.

Start on hands and knees with one leg extended straight out behind. Holding your leg in this position works the low back muscles, hamstrings, and glutes isometrically (with the muscles staying at one length)

Leg extended

From hands and knees, extend the leg out behind.

As you exhale, bend the elbows, keeping them in close to the body. Bring the chest down toward the floor. The same leg stays lifted throughout. Keeping elbows in close to the body puts the focus on the tricep muscles instead of chest muscles. It also keeps the shoulders rolling forward.

Elbows bent.

Bend the elbows.

As you inhale, straighten the elbows, lifting the chest away from the floor. The same leg is still lifted.

Leg extended

Straighten the elbows again.

Now, as you exhale, bring the knee in toward the nose and nose in toward the knee. This motion works the abdominal muscles, especially if you really round through the spine: think about tucking the chin and tail bone under and drawing the belly button back toward the spine.

Knee to nose, nose to knee.

Bring the knee in toward the nose and the nose in toward the knee.

As you inhale, extend back to the starting position, re-engaging the low back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings. Repeat the flow as many times as you like on this side, and then balance it out on the other side.

Leg extended

Return to the starting position. Repeat the flow.

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