Our brand-new video series “Lena Dunham Does Yoga” features none other than Lena Dunham and her yoga instructor BFF Beth Cooke going with the flow at home. Because when the actress-director-writer (and burgeoning yogi!) invites you to her Brooklyn apartment for an afternoon of vinyasa—and totally unfiltered girl talk—you grab your mat. Tune in for new episodes of the series every day, all week long.
After numerous surgeries to treat her endometriosis, Lena Dunham turned to yoga and cat-cow—the ultra-gentle warm-up yoga sequence—to help restore her confidence. “I was feeling like garbage,” she recalls in the video.
Clearly, her recent mastery of what she dubs a “sensual” pose worked. “I ended up doing a dance scene on Girls that involved a lot of sensual cat-cow, and I could see people looking at me,” Dunham recounts with a sly smile.
The move (which admittedly is pretty animalistic) opens up your heart space and engages your abdominal muscles as you flow between positions that make you stick out your bum and chest. (“We have great bums,” says Dunham.) According to the star, it’s helped her “feel like a hot person again.” Yes, girl.
Of course, if you’re really looking to become an expert on cat-cow, Dunham’s go-to yogi Beth Cooke gave us some pointers on the formalities. (The duo are very chatty with each other, as our video series reveals, so a little extra guidance will help you on the mat.)
Watch this episode of “Lena Dunham Does Yoga” above—and then master cat-cow with these tips from Cooke.
“Cat-cow is a great way to warm up the body,” says Cooke. “Activating the spine and core early on in your practice will help support proper alignment, and it’ll ground you for the rest of the day.”
1. Make sure your hands are stacked directly under your shoulders.
2. Align your knees under your hips in an even tabletop position.
3. Breathe into cow by arching your spine.
4. Exhale into cat by tucking your abs and hunching your back. (This is essentially the inversion of cow. Channel that black cat caricature you see everywhere on Halloween by raising your back and dropping your head down.)
5. Flow with each breath between cat and cow.
Adopting a vinyasa practice has a multitude of benefits. See why yoga nidra might be the key to wiping out stress and anxiety…for good. And this yoga sequence may boost your metabolism.