Video Transcription – Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Namastey friends! My name is Sandeep. Friends, today we are going to learn Cow Face Pose or Gomukhasana. Now the reason, why it is called Gomukhasana, the position of the legs is depicts the face of the cow and that’s the reason why it is called Gomukhasana, Cow Face Pose.

This asana is seated hip opening asana. It allows the hip area to open. Lot of postures is depending on this area. Especially standing asana, where the foot is moving outward, it is where it externally rotation of the hip or internal rotation of hip or meditative asana where you need to sit either in the Lotus Pose or Sit asana or Sukhasana. So, this asana helps to open this area.

Anatomically, if you see ankles, the knee and the hip along with the shoulder, elbow and the wrist and the chest is affected. And the same way, if you see the benefits of this asana, it allows the mobility of the joints and the hips to improve. Again the ankles twisted, the knees also twisted and the hip is also rotated externally, so this allows mobility of all the three joints which is there painful. In the same way, if you see limbs the arms, the shoulder gets affected, the triceps also gets affected and the elbow and the wrist also get affected. Most importantly it opens the chest, so the breathing improves and also it is very good for heart.

Now, people who have some shoulder issue or people who have wrist issue, they should take care or those who have issue with the technique of this asana. You will straighten both the legs in front the hip, they should take care while performing this asana. Now let’s see and then you need to bend the legs and knees. Now people, who have very tight hip or they can lose, they can use the block, they can keep the block under the buttock and so that they can lift and the knees are not troubling them. When you keep a block, you get a lift, so pelvis can come neutral position very easily because in this the knees are coming closer and that is the reason why the pelvis can drop. So, what we need to do is, we need to sit on the block and keep the pelvis neutral. In along with engage your spine and make them tall. And then we can keep the position of feet. It became easier initially.

As you keep on practicing regularly, you can slowly, slowly start reducing the height or maybe you can use the blanket after that and finally, you can sit on the floor and you can do the Gomukhasana. I will do it without any block. Now, you can bend both the legs like this or you bring the heel. For example, I want to bring my left heel by the side of the right buttock, so left heel by the side of the right buttock. If you notice, lot of people what they do is they keep the heel below the buttock and that is the reason why I am sitting like this. Do you feel that my body weight is tilting on one side? So that the heel will never come below the buttock, it will come by the side of the buttock like this, so that you are sitting on the sitting bones.

Now another thing to keep in mind is that the naval button. The Navel button is specially aligned with the knee. It gets aligned and then we can fix the upper leg. Now, to make things easier or those who have very tight hip, they can even keep the left leg like this. Later on, we can actually use the support of the forearm. So that we can stretch this foot, the upper leg more towards the opposite side, now, how to do that. You hold the lower knee with the opposite hand so I am holding the left knee with the right hand and then I am going to use my forearm to push. Can you see this pushing action? So this pushing action will actually help to move the foot to the opposite side. So I am going to push and I am going to hold the ankle. I am going to hold the right ankle with the left hand and pull it closer and closer. So can you see it has covered little distance?

Now, one more attempt, we will push. See it has come a little more further. Initially it will be a little painful because if the hips are tight it will create a little strain. So friends what you can do is, you can reduce the distance. Even this much is fine. The only thing is you need to keep in mind is that you are actually sitting on both the sitting bones and you are keeping the pelvis neutral. Don’t slouch. If you are slouching, use a block to lift yourself. So, if you see both the knees are one above the other, that is the final position but we are not in a hurry to come in the final position but as you keep on practicing friends, you will slowly, slowly start coming to that also. Now, this is the position of the leg. Few schools shows variation where the knee which is up the opposite hand goes up. Few schools say the knee which is up, that hand goes up. Classically it has seen that the knee which is up that hand also goes up. So we are going to follow the classical standard. So both the knees are one above the other, heels by the side of the hip and you are sitting on the center not leading too forward not sitting on one side, sitting in the center. Pelvis is neutral, spine is tall, and neck is tall. You can keep both the palm on the upper knee.

Now friends, we are going to raise the hands. So first we will raise the hand and we will bend the hand at the elbow. Can you see when I bend the hand, the shoulder rotates internally a little and that’s fine. And then we use the other hand, the lower hand. This also turns the shoulder a little out and then brings the back of the palm close to the middle back. Now, it is very important when to push this elbow, the more the elbow goes in, the more the elbow travels, then it is very easy. After the elbow goes in, it is very easy to pull the hand up. Lot of time what people do is, they just bring the hand up and the elbow doesn’t move. Then it becomes quite struggling at the shoulder. Shoulder starts aching. So, after doing this position, taking this position, you just need to bring the elbow inside. The more the elbow comes closer to the body, and then you can raise the hand up easily. So let us watch! I raise my hand, stretch a little and I bend the hand at the elbow and then I bring the other hand and then start pushing the elbow in and then raise the hand up. If possible I will interlock and then hold here.

Now friends, when we hold this position, you will find lot of people they compromise by putting the head too much forward, by chin following down, just keep the head in front and lift the elbow up, if possible tighten the fingers and let the elbow more, more up and a little behind. Lot of time people find it difficult to reach, they bring the hand closer to each other. So what they can do is, they can use the belt. They can actually, what they can do is, they can actually bring the hand behind like this and hold the belt. For example if I find difficult I will hold just here. That’s all. Now, I will use my upper hand to pull my lower hand slowly, slowly up sliding the hand up and then hold for a while, maybe just 5 seconds, release. Again use the upper hand and to pull the lower hand, release. This can be done for about 3 times. Then we will use the lower hand to pull the upper hand down, release.

Can you see how my elbows traveling behind closer to the head, release, but not coming in the way of the head. And then we can start using the belt to bring the hands more closely to each other. If your hand doesn’t touch friends, it’s ok, that’s fine. Don’t struggle so much, where you are actually leading to pay. Understand and respect the body. Hold with the belt and very important after that. After holding and coming to the position either by the belt or support with the hands, it is very important to expand the chest. Whenever, you breathe in you feel is, chest is expanding from the front direction, from the side, from the both sides and also from the back.

This asana particularly allows the chest to expand nicely and that is the reason why the breathing capacity increases. It is also very good for the heart and blood pressure. So just watch keeping both the palms on the knee, lifting the upper hand up, bending the hand at the elbow and then using the other hand and pushing the elbow in and lifting the wrist up, if possible, interlocking the fingers. Hold here and starts breathing, deeply and slowly. Expanding the chest if possible from all the dimension. Breathe for about 3 to 5 breathes and then release, releasing, first the lower hand, keeping on the upper knee. Releasing the upper hand and keeping on the upper knee and then you will turn and change the side. Upper knee will go down and the lower knee will come up.

Friends, we will see this once from behind so that we will come to know how position of the elbow is how the behind hand will look like. I turn and then if you see friends don’t do like this, don’t sit just bring the heel out and you are sitting on both the buttock. Now, upper hand bending, lower hand push the elbow in and bring the hand up. Hold like this for a while and then release the lower hand, release the upper hand, come back.Friends Gomukhasana can open the joints especially of the limbs nicely. Keep practicing and make your body nice and flexible.

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