The Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose has many health beenfits including enhancing your strength and relieving you of stress.
Gomukhasana, also known as Cow Face Pose, is a yoga pose that can help you infuse energy and vibrancy. In order to complete the pose, you need to fold your legs in a way that are said to resemble a cow’s mouth, while the elbows form the shape of a cow’s ears! Interesting, isn’t it?
Not only does this pose look super interesting, but the health benefits, both mental and physical, are tremendous. From better kidney health to stronger shoulders and upper torso, the Gomukhasana asana works wonders for your body. Health Shots got in touch with Ashtanga, Yin and Face Yoga teacher Prerna Sinha to understand how to do the Gomukhasana pose.
What is the Gomukhasana pose or Cow Face Pose?
Gomukhasana is a Yoga pose which resembles a cow’s face. It has its roots in Hatha Yoga, and its name is derived from the Sanskrit words “gau” (cow) and “mukha” (face). “This pose is explained in the Darshana Upanishad, that was written in the 4th century. Gomukha is one of the holiest places and the shape of this mountain (the snout of the Gangotri glacier) resembles a cow’s mouth. Hence the name Gomukha. This is where river Ganga also originates,” explains Sinha.
What is the significance of Gomukhasana pose?
The pose is named Gomukhasana because the arms in the final position resemble the face of a cow. In Hindu mythology, the cow is considered sacred and symbolic of non-violence, purity, and abundance. “Gomukhasana is said to symbolise balance and the integration of opposites. The crossed legs represent the merging of the masculine and feminine aspects, while the arms crossed behind the back symbolize the unity of the breath,” says Sinha.
It is said to be an asana to bring awareness to the Ajna chakra or the third eye. “Once this pose is complete, an energy circuit is created in the entire spine. The prana (energy) is trapped within the body with the legs and hands in an interlock, giving no space for the downward flow of energy (Apana Vayu). The excess energy can be channeled efficiently when one is comfortable holding the posture,” she says.
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How to do the Gomukhasana pose?
Step 1: Sit in Sukhasana or the easy sitting pose.
Step 2: Cross your right knee and place it on your left knee.
Step 3: Keep the right knee on top of the left one. If this is tough, continue in any cross-legged position of your choice.
Step 4: Take your right hand up and keep it behind your upper back.
Step 5: Keep your left arm behind your back, palm facing outward, and try to interlock your hands.
Step 6: Open your chest, keep your chin slightly up and sit in the posture for a few breaths.
Step 7: Now, change the leg and hands. If your left leg is up, the same hand will go up.
Step 8: If you can’t reach your fingers, use a strap or hold the ends of a towel with each hand. Sit in the posture for 2 minutes on each leg.
Health Benefits of Cow Face Pose or Gomukhasana
Gomukhasana is great to stretch your entire body—your shoulders and arms, your ankles, hips, thighs and back. “The pose encourages deep breathing, which can have a calming effect on the mind. Regular practice of Gomukhasana is believed to stimulate the kidneys and abdominal organs,” says Sinha. Here are the other benefits:
1. Shoulder and chest stretch
Gomukhasana opens and stretches the shoulders and chest, improving flexibility and reducing tension.
2. Hip opener
The crossed-leg position helps open and stretch the hips.
3. Improved posture
Regular practice can contribute to better posture by releasing tension in the upper back and shoulders.
4. Relieves aches
The Gomukhasana pose is great for relieving aches and pains. It works wonders for your back ache, sciatica, rheumatism etc. Alleviates cramps in the legs and makes the leg muscles supple.
5. Stress reduction
The deep breathing associated with this pose can promote relaxation and reduce stress.
6. Stimulation of abdominal organs
Gomukhasana stimulates the kidneys and abdominal organs, potentially improving digestion.
What must you keep in mind while doing Gomukhasana?
Here are some vital pointers to keep in mind before doing this pose:
1. If your hips feel tight, sit on the edge of a folded blanket or on a block.
2. If clasping your fingers is challenging, use a strap or hold onto a towel to gradually work towards a deeper stretch.
3. Focus on keeping the spine straight and the chest lifted during the pose.
4. Do not overstretch or hold your breath. If you feel any pull in any muscle or any knee pain, get out of the pose and stretch the muscle.
Disclaimer: As with any yoga practice, it is advisable to consult with a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns.