Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose is a seated pose that stretches the hips and thighs, ankles, shoulders, triceps and chest.
Early yoga practitioners named this asana the Cow Face pose because with a little imagination, the body appears to look like the face of a cow. Although I haven’t quite figured out the cow-angle (it is said that the legs make up the mouth and the elbows look like the ears of a cow) it is a great pose to add to your practice!
There are a variety of ways to begin this pose, choose the method that is easiest for you. However, if you have back, neck, or shoulder problems, you should consult with your instructor prior to attempting this pose.
- Start in Staff pose so your legs are out in front of you. Then lift your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
- Move your left foot underneath your right knee to the outside of your right hip. Then move your right leg over your left and slide your foot to the outside of your left hip. Make sure your feet are evenly alongside of your body. If you are uncomfortable, you can try sitting on a block or cushionto alleviate any pressure in your knees or hips. Make sure to sit evenly on your sitting bones.
- Elongate your spine by feeling your crown lift towards the sky and lift your sternum.
- Raise your right arm towards the ceiling. Bend your right elbow bringing your hand behind your head to the center of your back. Try to align your arm with your spine. Your palm should be facing your back.
- Extend your left arm out so that it is parallel with the floor. As you lower your arm, bend your left elbow bringing your hand to the center of your back. Try to align your left arm with your spine. Your left palm should be facing outward.
- Try to grasp your hands together and if possible, hook your fingers. Then lift the right arm towards the ceiling and pull your left arm towards the floor. Pull down on your shoulder blades and open your chest.
If you are unable to touch your hands, try using a strap to make the connection for the stretch. If you would like to deepen the pose, once you have connected your hands, wait a breath and upon exhalation, bend forward at the hips. You can also try moving your hands away from your back to deepen the stretch in the shoulders.