Yoga Posture Guide - The Cow face Pose (Gomukha-asana)

The Cow face Pose (Gomukha-asana)

"Placing the right ankle on the left side and the left ankle on the right side, makes Gomukha-asana, having the appearance of a cow."   

The Sanskrit word garuda means eagle. In Hindu mythology, Garuda is known as the king of birds. He transports the God Vishnu (shown with a bow and arrow in the illustration to the left) and is said to be eager to help humanity fight against deamons.  

Pronunciation:  ga-roo-dah-sa-na 
Difficulty Level: (3) 

This posture stretches the arms, upper back, chest and the sides of the chest and abdomen. As the shoulder blades are stretched backward the lungs are expanded and as the abdominal muscles are lifted the stomach is toned. It helps to relieve neck strain, backache, and tight shoulders. The hands, fingers, and wrists are strengthened.

Instructions to The Cow face Yoga Pose (Gomukha-asana)

  1. Sit in a crossed-leg position, right leg over left. 
  2. Spread the legs as far apart as possible without bending the knees. 
  3. Bend the left knee and place the bottom of the left foot against the inner left thigh. Bring the left heel as close to the perineum as possible. Keep the left knee on the floor. 
  4. Grasp the right foot with the left hand and keeping the foot on the floor place the heel of the right foot against the front-left portion of the left buttock. The right knee should be directly on top of the left knee... 
  5. Inhale slowly through the nostrils and raise the right hand over the head and bend the right elbow. Reach behind the back with the left hand and clasp the fingers of both hands (forming an "s" shaped lock). 
  6. Hold the posture as long as you can comfortably hold the inhale breath. Exhale slowly and then repeat the posture reversing the arms and legs.

Duration/Repetitions: You can either hold the posture while the breath is held or you can try holding the posture while breathing gently through the nostrils. If you choose to breath, then hold the posture for thirty seconds to a minute. Repeat the gomukha-asana two to three times on each side. 

Variations: If you are unable to lock the fingers behind the back you may grasp one end of a small piece of cloth in the right hand and the other end of the cloth in the left hand.

Health Benefits of The Cow face Yoga Pose (Gomukha-asana)

The cow face pose is a good stretch pose for the limbs, that is, the thighs, ankles, hips, armpits, triceps, and chest. This pose straightens the spine, improves body posture and relieves pain in the hips and lower body. Gomukhasanaincreases the mobility of shoulders, tones the abdomen and also increases energy levels of the upper body.

This pose aids in relieving chronic knee pain and opens up the hip joint.

Gomukhasana prevents the enlargement of testicles and also prevents excess calcium from getting deposited in the shoulder joints. This pose is also beneficial in treating sciatica and piles and can relieve one of sprains and aches, particularly those in the back. Cow face pose can help fight respiratory disorders and cardiac complaints and can help patients with hypertension find relief. This pose aids digestion and is useful for arthritis patients.
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