Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana): How to Do & Benefits

cow face pose

Gomukhasana is a seated asana, that increases flexibility and relaxation of our body. Its origin is from Dharshana Upanishad 1, which was written around the 4th century.

If we talk about the meaning of Gomukhasana, it is the combination of three Sanskrit words, Go, Mukha, and Asana. Go means cow, Mukha means mouth or face, and Asana means pose or seat. Combining all three, it means Cow Face Pose. 

Why We Call It Gomukhasana

The body posture in this asana resembles the face of a cow, therefore, we call it Gomukhasana or cow-face pose.

In this asana, the posture of knees looks like the mouth of the cow and the hand posture, one up and one down, looks like ears of a cow.

How to Do Gomukhasana

cow face pose instructions

To perform Gomukhasana, you need to stretch your hands and feet in a particular way.  The whole procedure is described in the steps below.

Steps

  • Sit on a floor or yoga mat and extend your feet forwards.
  • Keep the spine straight and head erect.

Feet Arrangement

  • Firstly, fold your right foot and bring the heel of the right foot towards the left buttock. Try to touch the heel with buttock.
  • Now, fold the left foot over the right, and try to bring its heel towards the right buttock.
  • Make sure that the left knee is above the right and both are parallel to each other.

This feet arrangement is known as Dhyana Virasana or Hero’s Meditation Pose.

Arms Arrangement

  • Firstly, raise your left hand up and bend it towards the spine. Do it in such a manner that, your elbow is facing upwards and hand is touching the back, palm facing inwards.
  • Now, draw your right hand down and bend it towards your spine. Do it in such a manner that, your elbow is facing downwards and hand is touching the back, palm facing outwards.
  • Now, in the same position, clasp the fingers of both hands together, behind the back. Due to the lack of flexibility, you might find it difficult.
  • Now, close your eyes and take deep breaths. This will regulate the flow of prana throughout the body. You can also do pranayama in conjunction with it.
  • Hold the position for 1 minute. Then, slowly release the hands, unfold the feet and stretch them forward.
  • Now, reverse or exchange the position of the hands and feet. Then repeat the whole process.

Note- The side whose leg is up, the hand on the same side will come up. Suppose, if your left leg is up (over right leg), then, your left hand will come up.

Like any other Yoga Asana, the best time to perform Gomukhasana is in the morning. Perform it daily at least 5-6 times in the morning with a fresh mind and body. Although, you can still perform it in the evening time.

Preparatory Asanas

  • Vajrasana
  • Virasana
  • Baddha Koshana
  • Padangusthasana

Follow Up Asanas

  • Padmasana
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana
  • Bharadvajasana
  • Garudasana
  • Marichyasana III

Beginner Tips

  • If you are a beginner in Gomukhasana, you might feel it a little hard to balance the sitting bones evenly on the floor. If the sitting bones are not evenly settled, the spine can not be extended properly. Therefore, you can place a folded blanket, under your sitting bones to support them.
  • In the starting time of Gomukhasana’s practice, it is often hard to touch both hands together, behind the back. So, you can use a strap or scale as a mediator between both hands. Also, you can take the help of someone else, or yoga teacher, to clasp the fingers of both hands.
  • When you are a beginner, perform it only for 30 -40 seconds, then increase the time gradually.

Contraindications and Precautions

  • If you are dealing with a rotator cuff 2 injury or any other shoulder injury, you must not perform this asana. Also, if there is any recent injury or muscle tear on your knee, thighs, back, neck or arm, avoid Gomukhasana.
  • Do not stretch your body too much. Understand the limits of your body and stretch it gently.
  • Keep the head and spine straight.

Benefits of Gomukhasana

  • Stretches the Muscles

The practice of Gomukhasana gently stretches the shoulder, neck, hands, spine, feet, and hips. This stretch regulates a proper flow of blood in these parts. This helps in the following aspects.

  • Increases the flexibility and strength of these muscles that help in making a flexible and healthy body.
  • Cures sciatica 3.
  • Decreases stiffness of the neck and shoulder.
  • Stretches muscles of triceps and chest.
  • Strengthens the spine.

Also, this asana provides an overall massage to these muscles of the body. This asana tones the overall muscles of your body.

  • Helps in Maintaining the Perfect Posture

In our daily life, due to our wrong sitting habits, our body posture gets unbalanced. The regular practice of Gomukhasana helps to rearrange the posture of the shoulder, back, and hips and helps us to maintain the overall perfect posture.

  • Hip Opener Asana

In yogic terms, hips are said to store stress, anxiety, and fear. Gomukhasana exercise gently stretches the hips muscles and improves blood flow to this part of the body. This results in the following benefits.

  • The stretch reduces the stored anxiety fear and stress.
  • It helps in better relaxation of hips and the lower part of the body. Besides, it keeps the lower part organs healthy and cures sexual ailments. Also, it removes the stiffness of these parts.
  • It helps in curing the hydrocele. It is a condition when the testicles get filled with fluid which causes swelling in the scrotum.
  • Increases Brain Function

Gomukhasana includes deep breathing while stretching the body. This helps in a better flow of prana and blood to the brain. Thus, it stimulates the brain function to the optimum level.

  • Helps in Rejuvenating Muscles of Thighs and Arms

Gomukhasana includes a gentle stretch in thighs and arms and increases blood supply to these parts. This stretch allows these parts to store more strength and power. Thus, this asana helps to rejuvenate muscles of thighs and arms. This is very helpful for athletes.

Other Health Benefits

  • Gomukhasana reduces high blood pressure to a balanced level.
  • It stimulates the functions of kidneys and the digestive system. This helps in better digestion and cleaning of the body.
  • It improves respiration and cures respiratory problems like Asthama.

Variation

  • Vajra Gomukhasana
  • Mahavajra Gomukhasana
  • Hasta Gomukhasana
  • Baddha Gomukhasana

References

  1. Darshana Upanishad  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darshana_Upanishad 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotator_cuff
  3. what is sciatica https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/

2 Comments

  1. Raj Pandey April 17, 2020
    • Ashish April 17, 2020

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