Yoga Backbends

Cow Pose

Cow Pose is an easy, gentle way to warm up the spine.

Sanskrit Name


Cow Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.

Step 2

As you inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling, allowing your belly to sink toward the floor. Lift your head to look straight forward.

Step 3

Exhale, coming back to neutral “tabletop” position on your hands and knees. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Step 4

This pose is often paired with Cat Pose on the exhale for a gentle, flowing vinyasa.

SEE MORE Chest Openers and Yoga Backbend Poses

Pose Information

Contraindications and Cautions

With a neck injury, keep the head in line with the torso.

Preparatory Poses

Follow-up Poses

Beginner’s Tip

Protect your neck by broadening across your shoulder blades and drawing your shoulders down, away from your ears.


  • Stretches the front torso and neck
  • Provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs

See also Start Your Home Practice Here: The Basics of Sequencing