Yoga Poses: Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)


The Cow Face Pose or the Gomukhasana (pronounced as goh-moo-KHA-sah-nah) is a restorative and stretching seated pose, which helps one relax deeply. It is a good pose for athletes who require strong arms.

The pose is quite a good chest opener and helps prepare one for pranayama.

 

Health Benefits

The cow face pose is a good stretch pose for the limbs, that is, the thighs, ankles, hips, armpits, triceps and chest. This pose straightens the spine, improves body posture and relieves pain in the hips and lower body. Gomukhasana increases the mobility of shoulders, tones the abdomen and also increases energy levels of the upper body.

This pose aids in relieving chronic knee pain and opens up the hip joint.

Gomukhasana prevents the enlargement of testicles and also prevents excess calcium from getting deposited in the shoulder joints. This pose is also beneficial in treating sciatica and piles and can relieve one of sprains and aches, particularly those in the back. Cow face pose can help fight respiratory disorders and cardiac complaints and can help patients of hypertension find relief. This pose aids digestion and is useful for arthritis patients.

Getting into the Pose

What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), and you.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Initial Position: Staff Pose (Dandasana)

Drishti or Gaze: Forward, in the direction of your nose.

Steps

  1. Get into the initial position. Bend forward to hold your right big toe with your left hand. Inhale as you do so.
  2. Gradually exhale and bend your right knee. With help of your hand, pull your  right foot to put it close to your left hip.
  3. Again bend forward and hold your left big toe with your right hand. Inhale as you do so. On exhale, place your left foot close to your right hip. This way your left knee is placed above the right one.
  4. Spread out your left arm and raise it over your head such that it is straight and close to your ear.
  5. Inhale on a count of 3 and place your left palm on the middle of your back or between your shoulder blades.
  6. Take your right hand and place it on your left elbow to further push your arm down the back.
  7. Now, bring out your right arm at shoulder level and bend your elbow. Slide your right arm up your back and hold the other hand at the center of your shoulder blades. Exhale.
  8. Curl the fingers as the hands touch each other and feel the stretch all across. Look in direction of the left elbow stretched above for additional shoulder and neck stretch.
  9. Inhale and exhale deep for 15-30 seconds. Release, relax and repeat with the other side.
  10. This is one cycle of Gomukhasana. Do it twice along with other poses.

Rest in Child’s pose, if you feel exerted.

Other Variations

  • Forward Bending Cow Face Pose – Advanced version: This variation allows for additional lower back stretch while helping in reduction of belly fat. After performing the full cow face pose, bend forward and down from the torso and rest yourself on the inside of the thigh that is on the top. Stay in the pose for half a minute, inhale and release the pose.

Preparatory Poses

Beginner’s Tips

It might get difficult for beginners to stack both knees on top of each other. In such a case, a folded blanket or towel can be used to lift up the sitting bones off the ground.

This will also give them even support and make it easier to perform the Cow face pose.

Advanced Poses

Important Notes

  • Avoid performing this pose if you have any serious or severe neck/shoulder issues.

Last updated: July 25th, 2014
Next scheduled update: Sept 25th, 2014

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