This asana targets your hips and your shoulders – two of the most common sites for chronic pain and tension in the body. If you have tight shoulders, daily practice of Cow Face can be slightly painful at first – but, after several months, it can be very therapeutic (sort of like releasing a pressure valve). It can also significantly increase range of motion in your shoulder joints.
To try Gomukhasana with a licensed yoga practitioner, check out our yoga class schedules for each branch of CNY Healing Arts (Syracuse, Rochester, Albany).
Getting Into Cow Face Pose:
Begin in Agnistambhasana (Fire Log Pose). Slide your knees together in front of you, stacking the right knee directly on top of the left. If you find this movement to be difficult, try coming forward on your hands and knees before aligning the knees. When aligned, sit back in between your feet – which should be equidistant from your hips. Support your weight evenly amongst your sitting bones.
Now for the upper body, extend your left arm up towards the sky. Then, bring your left hand down to the center of your back (hinging at the elbow). Reach your right arm out to the same side, parallel to the floor. Rotate the arm inward – your thumb will turn first towards the floor – until your palm faces the sky above.
This movement should put your shoulder in correct position for the next one. Take a deep breath and, as you exhale, sweep your right arm behind and in the hollow of your lower back (as parallel to your spine as is comfortable).
Keeping your spine long, hook fingers or hold hands behind your back. If they don’t reach, hold a belt or strap in both hands. Then, lift your left elbow toward the sky and draw your right elbow toward the ground. Keep your left arm close to your head. Center yourself.
Lift your chest and firm your shoulders blades against your lower back for stability. As a beginner, breathe steady and deep 4-6 times while holding posture. Then, release your arms, uncross your legs, and repeat Gomukhasana with the left knee on top and left elbow pointing down.
Benefits of Cow Face Pose:
- Stretches your hips, thighs, ankles and chest, shoulders, anterior deltoids, triceps, inner armpits and lats