Gomukhasana may have the best name among all yoga poses. In Sanskrit it sounds cool. And in English, it makes you smile. Gomukhasana (GO-moo-kah-sana) translates to Cow Face Pose.
Go = Cow
Mukha = Face
Asana = Pose
This pose, at least the full expression of it, is a more advanced pose but that doesnt mean beginners cant make modifications and reap the benefits. Its also recommended that you prepare for this posture before moving into it. You want to make sure your shoulders, legs and hips have all been warmed up.
How to do Cow Face Pose
As with other seated postures, start in staff pose with your legs in front of you, back straight, and hands on the ground with your wrists below your shoulders.
Starting with your legs, bend both knees so your feet are flat on the ground. Bring your right leg underneath the left so your heel is in line with your left hip. The outside of your leg and outer edge of your foot will be on the mat.
Cross your left leg over your right, stacking your knees. Your left heel should be near your right hip. You may need to help your left leg and foot to get it there. If you feel any pain in your knees, stop and ease off the pose.
Moving up the body, inhale and raise your right arm up. Exhale and bend your elbow to reach your hand down your back between your shoulder blades. Inhale and bring your left arm out parallel to the floor. AS you exhale bend your elbow, reaching up your back to grab for your right hand. Cant reach? Thats ok. Grab hold of your shirt or use a strap or towel to make up for the space in between.
Continue to slide your shoulder blades down your back, press the back of your head against your forearm, open the heart and breathe.
Precautions in Gomukhasana
If you have any shoulder pain or injuries, modify as needed to prevent further injury. Also be cautious in this pose if you have knee problems or experience any pain when in the pose.
Cow Face Pose for Beginners
Here are a few modifications to help you get into the pose.
Increase the distance between your heel and your body to ease the pressure on your knees
Sit on a folded blanket, block or bolster to raise your hips while allowing your legs to rest on the floor
Use a strap between your hands to take the strain off your shoulders
Benefits of Gomukhasana
It may not be the easiest pose, but it has great benefits.
First and foremost, it releases tension from the shoulders which, in turn, releases tension from the whole body.
Second, it allows the heart to open the benefits of which are immeasurable for stress release, happiness, acceptance and love.
Gomukhasana also stretches and opens your hips and thighs, two areas where energy often gets stuck.
For those advanced yogis who want even more. Once you get into the pose, bend forward at the hips for a greater stretch and opening.
Once youre there, close your eyes and breathe. Hold it for 30 seconds to a minute or longer, taking slow, deep breaths. As you release and move into the opposite side, congratulate yourself on accomplishing cow face, and smile.
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