Cow Face Pose
Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) stretches your entire body—your shoulders and arms, your ankles, hips, thighs and back. In this pose, the folded legs are said to resemble a cow’s mouth, the elbows form the shape of a cow’s ears.
Gomukhasana is a seated yoga asana of the Hatha Yoga style. The word “Gomukhasana” (Sanskrit – गौमुखासन) is derived from three Sanskrit words Go (गौ) meaning cow, Mukha (मुख) and Asana (आसन) which means posture. With that said, Gomukhasana means the face of a cow.
Also, place Comukh mentioned in many ancient texts and its located next to the holy river Ganga. Comukh is in the shape of the mountain that resembles cow’s mouth and considered to be one of the holiest places.
‘Go’ or cow is a sacred anima that represents peace and prosperity. Lord Krishna is often seen among the cows, showering cows with unconditional love. A short story goes back to how Lord Brahma plays a prank on Lord Krishna, to confirm if Lord Krishna was indeed the Almighty. As a part of the prank, Lord Brahma, one day stole all the calves leaving Krishna in surprise. But Krishna was very much aware of the situation and with his powers, he produced all the calves. Lord Brahma saw this, and he was in shock and realized his mistake. Brahma kneeled before Lord Krishna and prayed. He prayed so that he may always know the truth, and to never question the truth, like he did about Lord Krishna. This story has a strong connection to the eight limbs of yoga, and in particular Niyama Satya (truth).
The seminal text on the physical practice of yoga, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, contains only fifteen asanas. Gomukhasana makes the cut. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika in Chapter 1, Verse 20 defines Gomukhasana (Cow’s Face) as: “Place the right ankle next to the left buttock and the left ankle next to the right buttock, resembling the mouth of a cow.”
Through the practice of this seated pose, an energy circuit is created in the entire spine. The prana (energy) is held within the body with the legs and hands in an interlock, giving no space for the downward flow of energy (apana vayu).
An inward focus can help students/practitioners to use their knowledge and find the truth about oneself, which is also the path towards Satya (truth). Through the act of surrendering, one is assured of something more powerful that controls this universe, leaving us with little or no power at all.
These are the physical benefits of the Cow Face Pose:
- Improves flexibility of knees, shoulders & arms.
- Relieves stiffness in neck & shoulders.
- Stretches the chest muscles
- Helps with type II diabetes.
- Elongates spine and improves posture.
- Strengthens back muscles and stimulates kidneys.
The mental benefits of practicing this asana are:
- Reduces stress & anxiety.
- Improves mood & concentration.
- Increases self-awareness.
⚠️ Here are Some Conditions in which you should not practice Gomukhasana:
- Serious neck problems.
- Shoulder problems
- Knee injury
- Pregnant woman and those with conditions like hernia or cervical spondylosis should not perform this asana.