“Go” means cow and “mukha” means face. This asana translates into cow face pose. For many people, this asana resembles the face of a cow.
In many cultures, the cow has traditionally been worshiped as a sacred animal. Egyptians worshiped the cow goddess as the feminine creative principle. In India, cows were (and in some cases still are) perceived as a life-giving, holy, nourishing symbol. In ancient times, kings valued their cattle even more than their armies.
Benefits of Cow Face Pose
- Helps to prevent and cure bursitis and rotator cuff injury in some cases. Proper alignment, progression and patience is essential. It is important to avoid any type of straining.
- Creates greater flexibility in the gluteal muscles and deep rotator muscles of the hips. Since it stretches the piriformis, it can also be helpful in controlling the symptoms of sciatica.
- Stretches and detoxifies the lymph nodes in the groin and in the armpits, giving a boost to the immune system.
- People suffering from knee, hip, pelvic, low back or ankle pain may need to begin with modifications.
- Start in a seated cross-legged pose with your right shin in front of your left.
- Bring your right knee in front of the left.
- Rest the left knee back against the back of the right knee. If your feet and sit bones are not in contact with the earth, use a block underneath your seat as a prop.
- Notice the natural curves of the spine.
- Ensure that the back of the head stays in line with the upper back and does not come forward.
- Hinge forward from the hips, keeping the spine long to feel an extra stretch in the gluteal muscles and the hips.
- Stretch the arms straight out to the sides so they are parallel to the floor.
- Reach the right arm straight up overhead. Bend your right arm at the elbow so the fingers of your right hand rest behind the left shoulder.
- Bring the left arm down and behind your back. Bend at your left elbow and reach up to clasp the fingers of the right-hand. Use a strap if necessary.
- Avoid arching your lower back. Feel the sternum move backward slightly to keep the spine long.
- Once the hands are joined, reach one elbow up and the other down, feeling a stretch in your lymph nodes, shoulders, neck muscles and chest.
- On each inhalation feel your heart lifting and enjoy a sense of expansion on all sides of your body.
- Feel one elbow reaching up and the other elbow reaching down, working in opposition to each other.
- Allow the position of the hands behind the shoulder blades to stretch the muscles across the chest.
- Release the strap.
- Relax your arms down to the sides of your body.
- Return to a seated cross-legged pose on your next inhale and exhale.