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Although Gomukhasana is a seated pose used for exercise, it is widely used for pranayama as well as meditation. It is one of the 15 significant asanas described in the yoga text, Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

Cow Face Pose is an excellent hip opener and as the hips are known as the storage depot for stress, anxiety and fear. So practising this pose helps to release the negative emotions and recharge your body with positive energy.



What To Know About The Gomukhasana?

Gomukhasana is a term originating from Sanskrit word Go means ‘cow’, Mukha means ‘face’ and Asana means ‘pose’. It is named so because the shape of knees in this pose looks like the lips of a cow, feet as horns of a cow and arms resemble the ears of a cow. This pose inspires us to maintain the generosity and calmness of a cow.

Gomukhasana is a traditional yoga posture as it is mentioned in detail in the 4th-century text, Darshana Upanishad.

Sanskrit: गोमुखासन ; Gomukhāsana

Pronunciation: go-moo-KAHS-nah

Translation: Gomukha = cow face, asana = pose

Category: Seated/ Sitting

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Duration: 30 seconds-1 minute

Stretches: Shoulders, Armpits & Triceps, Hips, Thighs, Thorax

Doshas: Kapha, Pitta

Elements: Earth, Water

How to Come Into The Gomukhasana?

Step 1
  • Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose) with your back straight and legs outstretched. Bend your left knees and place your left foot to the outside of the right hip. Now fold your right leg and rest it over the left thigh. Make sure your knees are close to each other and stacked above another. Your heels should lie equidistant from the sitting bones. If you can’t sit evenly on your sitting bones then try the modified pose.
Step 2
  • Inhale and roll your right shoulder back & down. Then fold your right arm and place it behind your torso with your hand between your scapulae. Now roll your left shoulder back and slowly raise your left arm over and slowly stretch it behind and try to reach your right hand between the shoulder blades. If you are not able to catch the fingers of your backhand, then you can use a modification of this pose.
Step 3
  • Your left elbow pointing towards the ceiling and scapulae firmly pressed against your back. Keep your spine erect, expand your chest, lift your sternum and lightly lean your body back.
Step 4
  • Hold the pose for half to 1 minute. Slowly release your arms and your legs. Relax and then repeat the pose on the other side. Keep in mind that the leg which is on top, the same side arm should be placed in a lower position.

Modifications Of Gomukhasana 

  • For those with tight shoulders, it will be difficult to clasp their fingers. So they can hold a yoga strap or belt between the hands. Slowly they can bring their hands closer while holding the strap.
  • If your sitting bones are not evenly resting on the floor and you are feeling discomfort in your hips and knees. Then you can keep a soft block or bolster to lift your sitting bones off the mat & support them evenly.

Variations Of Gomukhasana

  • To go beyond the pose, you can lean forward and rest the front torso down on the top of your thigh. You can stay in this posture for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • You can even try Vajra Gomukhasana, where your legs are in Vajrasana and your upper body and arms are in Gomukhasana. Another option here is to choose Mahavajra Gomukhasana.
  • In Hasta Gomukhasana, you sit in Gomukhasana and your arms instead of behind your back will be raised above your shoulders. Your arms are crossing each other and your elbow pointing to the ceiling.

Benefits Of Gomukhasana

  • Improves the Body Posture:

Regular practice of Gomukhasana works wonders for those who have stiffness in shoulders. It aids in releasing the tightness from shoulders and making it more flexible. It also flexes the spine and releases the pain of the cervical spine. By stimulating the spine, shoulders and chest muscle, it gradually improves the natural posture of the body.

  • Tones the Body:

This yogic posture gives a good stretching to your chest, shoulders, triceps, hips, thighs and more. So basically this one asana helps you to tone the major muscle parts of the body.

  • Relieves Stress And Anxiety:

As in this pose, our chest and heart are open so it improves the flow of oxygen and blood. Hence, it relaxes our physical, mental body. Practising the Cow Pose helps to get rid of stress and anxiety.

  • Cures sciatica infection:

Sciatica occurs when the herniated material from a ruptured spinal disc press upon the delicate nerve root emerging from the spinal cord, this causes radiating pain in the lower back, thigh, and calves. Practising Cow Face Pose regularly can help in curing sciatica pain.

  • Stimulates Kidney:

This yogic pose has shown positive effects on kidney simulation which lead to kidneys better functioning and is found to be helpful for diabetes patients. By enhancing the working of the kidneys, thereby helps in treating diabetes. It also activates the bladder and the digestive system.

  • Activates the Chakras:

As this excellent yogic posture offers a deep hip abductor stretch which results in more relaxed hip muscles. It also works on opening the hips and making the pericardium area more accessible. This pose also improves the flow of blood flow which release the stiffness from the lower body and relieving stress. Hence it allows the flow of Prana from the unblocked chakras and activates the Muladhara, Svadhisthana and Anahata chakras.

Contraindications & Cautions Of Gomukhasana

  • If you are having severe pain in the neck or shoulder, refrain from this pose. If you have just mild pain, then perform the asana under the supervision of an experienced yoga instructor.
  • It is advisable not to do this pose in case of bleeding piles and spondylitis too.
  • This pose should be avoided if you have the injury in muscles, ligaments, and tendons or muscle tear or pain in thighs.

Preparatory Poses Of Gomukhasana

  • Virasana (Hero Pose)
  • Bhadrasana (Gracious Pose)
  • Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose)

Follow-Up Poses Of Gomukhasana

  • Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Fish Pose)
  • Marichyasana III (One-Legged Seated Spinal Twist Pose)
  • Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist Pose)

 

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About author
Sushant Pandey

Sushant is Meditation & Philosophy Teacher and Academic Director at Rishikesh Yogis. Sushant carries long years of experience teaching practical as well as philosophical aspects of Kundalini yoga, Kriya yoga, Hatha Yoga and Tantra philosophy.