Re-posting this… just thought it may help you today in your practice.
Imagine you are holding a bowl in front of you. Your index fingers are on the front of the bowl, your thumbs are on the back of the bowl (closest to you). You tip the bowl forward so your index fingers go down- this is dog tilt. You tip the bowl backward so your thumbs go down- this is cat tilt. Now, place your hands on the top of your hips (the illiac crest) in the same manner. Tip your pelvis forward so the index fingers move down- dog tilt. Tip your pelvis back so the thumbs move down- cat tilt. Now, why is this important?
In all forward folds, you want to initiate the movement by dog tilting the hips (index fingers move down). This lengthens the hamstrings and allows the lower back to lengthen and telescope up and forward, preventing injury. Try it now while sitting in your chair. Tip your hips in dog tilt as you sit here. What do you notice? Length! Now draw the navel to the spine and you have even more length and a safe, protected low back.
In all backbends, you want to initiate the movement by cat tilting the pelvis (thumbs move down). This movement creates space in between the vertebra of the low back. Then the backbend moves into the upper backand becomes a heart opener. If you suffer from low back pain in bridge, cobra, wheel, you need more cat tilt before going into the pose. An easy way to remember this is before any backbend, lengthen the tailbone toward the heels.
Utilizing dog tilt in your forward folds and cat tilt in your backbends will keep your spine healthy and pain free. Try it in your practice this week and see how it feels.