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Cow Face Yoga Pose – Gomukhasana

Cow face pose

Gomukhasana

[go-moo-KAHS-anna]

“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.

Contraindications

  • People suffering from knee, hip, pelvic, low back or ankle pain may need to begin with modifications.

Step-by-Step

  • 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.

Preparatory Poses

Counter Poses

back view of cow face posecow face pose or gomukhasana hands on