Gomukhasana (pronounced go-muKHA-suh-nuh) is an intermediate level seated posture. The name is derived from the Sanskrit words go (meaning cow) mukha (meaning face) and asana (meaning posture). This posture is called “cow-face” pose due to the lower limbs that resemble the face of the cow. The knees with a gap in between them look like the mouth. The shin looks like side of a cow’s face. The feet look like the ears of a cow. This posture helps to open your shoulder joints thus enabling a wider range of motion. Also, it is known for opening the hips. Hips are the known storage depot for stress, anxiety and fear. Sitting in this pose for several minutes while concentrating on your breath and release of these deep muscles, your body will overcome the negative effects of the aforementioned issues. It will also improve your posture because of the intense focus on lifting the spine. Gomukhasana is a great pose for athletes to test their ability to stay tough in a difficult situation. Working to open the shoulder joint, this pose is an obvious choice for any athlete that depends on arm strength. It opens and clears the rotator cuff while strengthening the supporting back muscles to add power. Stretched and strengthened hips and thighs are important for power and speed in sports that involve running. Opened glutes give more power to push for speed. Improved posture for athletes translates into more space in the chest cavity, leading to greater lung capacity and breath control.
Steps to perform Gomukhasana (pronounced go-muKHA-suh-nuh)
- Begin by sitting in cross-leg seated posture
- Bring your right foot on top of the left thigh and slide it as close to the left hip as possible
- Bring your left ankle by the side of the right hip. Try to make sure that one knee is over the other
- Slide both your feet far behind, but make sure you are comfortable
- Try to keep the spine straight and vertical and the head facing forward
- Raise your right arm and bring your it over your shoulder
- Wrap your left arm behind the back and reach to grasp your left hand with the right hand behind the back, clasping the fingers together
- Stay in the final pose for about 10-12 breaths.
- Release the hands and stretch the legs straight, bounce the knees a few times.
- Repeat the asana using the opposite limbs
- Finally release the post and relax in a comfortable cross-legged sitting posture
Health Benefits of Gomukhasana (pronounced go-muKHA-suh-nuh)
- It stretches your hips
- It provides power to your ankles, thighs, shoulders, armpit, chest, deltoid and triceps
- Relieves chronic knee pain
- Strengthens your spine and abdominal muscles
- Helps decompress low spine (during folded variation)
- Strengthens the hip joint
Adjustments of Gomukhasana (pronounced go-muKHA-suh-nuh)
In the beginning you may find it difficult to hold the two hands together; however, with practice, you should gradually be able to do so. In case you are unable to hold the hands, you may like to use a strap holding it with the two hands and trying to close the gap between the two hands.
Contraindications of Gomukhasana (pronounced go-muKHA-suh-nuh)
- If you have sciatica, the use of a prop under the hips or folding forward could aggravate the condition.
- Avoid the pose if you have serious neck or shoulder problems
- If pregnant, do not fold forward during first trimester
- Do not practice if you have serious knee problems