Why is the stretch called cat cow?

Cat Cow, also referred to as ‘Bitilasana’ comes from ‘bitil’ meaning ‘cow’ and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture.’ Both the cat and cow poses stretch the lower spine, hips and core muscles while opening the chest and lungs. This allows for easier breathing.

Set up

  1. Begin on all fours with a neutral spine and with your arms directly under your shoulders and hips over knees.

  2. Inhale as you bend your back, creating a C shape in your spine (spinal flexion) and round the tailbone while allowing your chin to rest on the chest.

  3. Exhale as you draw your stomach down towards the ground (spinal extension) while you take your gaze up.



  1. Releases tension from the upper back and neck. The stretch allows the body to relieve stress or pain to the lower back and sciatica.

  2. Improves flexibility. Cat cow pose increases the flexibility of the neck, shoulders and spine. The movement also stretches the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen and chest.

  3. Strengthens your spine. During this stretch, it activates the tailbone and releases tension of the neck and upper back. It will also improve the blood flow in your spine.

Please do this pose with caution. Ask your physician or physical therapist if cat cow pose is okay for your back.

Learn more about treatment options for neck and back pain at OrthoIndy