Cow’s Face Pose

Gomukhasana yoga pose

Meaning: In Sanskrit: गोमुखासन. It is pronounced as go-moo-KAHS-anna. It means: Go – Cow, Mukha – Face, Asana – Pose.

Yoga types: Hatha yoga, modern yoga.

Level: Beginner

Strengthens: Back and Chest

Stretches: Shoulders, Hip, Thighs, Thorax, Ankles, Triceps Brachii muscle, Axilla

Contraindications: Serious neck problems, shoulder problems, knee injury

Gomukhasana Mythology

Gomukhasana literally means Cow’s Face Pose. What a strange name. Why should we want to go into this pose? To find the answer let’s take a look at the Gomukhasana meaning. Go is the main word that refers to the senses, because they nourish the conscious mind, just as cow’s milk nourishes our body. Mukha means passageway or an aspect of something. Combining the two words we see that gomukha refers to the art of working with the senses as a gateway to a deeper aspect of the mind.*

But where exactly is the cow face in this pose? If you look at it straight on from the front, you can see that the crossed legs look like cow lips, the up and down elbows like a pair of ears.

An interesting thing about this pose is that the Hatha Yoga Pradipika –  a classic fifteenth-century Sanskrit manual on haṭha yoga, described this pose in this way: “Place both feet on the ground, putting them on either side of the bottom, and hold the body steady.” There is nothing mentioned about what to do with arms, so modern yoga added some shoulder opening movements.

The Essence Of Gomukhasana

Gomukhasana enhances the range of motion in the shoulder joints. Even if you have tight shoulders, and you continue practicing this asana, in a span of a few months, your shoulders will loosen out. This asana is therapeutic and releases chronic pain in your shoulders and hips.

Practicing this pose creates results in the release of endorphins that induce a feeling of relaxation and calmness within your body and mind.

Benefits Of Gomukhasana

  1. This asana helps to flex the back, it extends latissimus dorsi.
  2. It opens the chest.
  3. It helps to cure stiff shoulders and also helps in releasing the cervical spine.
  4. Practicing Gomukhasana also aids in the treatment of sciatica.
  5. It enhances the working of the kidneys, it is useful for those suffering from diabetes.
  6. It stretches ankles, hips, and thighs.
  7. Practicing this asana regularly can reduce stress and anxiety.

How To Do Gomukhasana

  1. Sit erect on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you, preferably in Dandasana.
  2. Now gently bend your left leg, and place it under your right buttock.
  3. Fold your right leg and place it over your left thigh.
  4. Place both your knees close together as they are stacked one on top of the other.
  5. Gently fold your left arm and place it behind your back.
  6. Take your right arm over your right shoulder, and stretch it as much as you can until it reaches your left hand. With practice, you will be able to not just reach, but also catch your left hand.
  7. Hold Gomukhasana for 30 seconds and increase time to a minute once you have more experience practicing it. 
  8. Then unclasp your hands and uncross your legs. Repeat the same posture by crossing your legs and stretching arms the opposite way.

Gomukhasana yoga pose
Source: Shutterstock

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Gomukhasana: Discover the Deeper Meaning Behind the Pose – https://yogainternational.com/article/view/gomukhasana-discover-the-deeper-meaning-behind-the-pose

Work Flexibility in One of Yoga’s Oldest Poses – https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/gomukhasana

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