Gomukhasana is an important sitting yoga pose. It is pronounced as “go-moo-KAHS-anna” wherein go means ‘cow’, Mukha means ‘face’. In In Sanskrit gomukha means ‘cow’s face’. This asana is so called because it resembles the face of a relaxed cow. It is one of the best yoga poses for lung expansion as well as alleviating respiratory congestion.
How to do Gomukhasana step by step?
- Sit erect, stretching both legs together in front. Place your hands by the side, palm resting on the ground with fingers together.
- Fold the left leg from the knee and place it on the ground by the side of the right buttock.
- Similarly fold the right leg from the knee; bring it over the left leg and place right heel by the left buttock.
- Raise the left arm, bend it at the elbow and take it below the shoulders towards the back.
- Raise the right arm, bend it at the elbow and take it upward and behind the back.
- Interlock the fingers of both the hands behind the back.
- Now try to extend the head backwards against the elbow as much as possible.
- Gaze in front.
- Stay in this position for as long as comfortable and then return to the original position.
- Repeat the same by changing the position of the legs and hands.
- This is the one round. Do it 2-3 rounds.
- Gomukhasana is an excellent asana for inducing relaxation. If one feel tired, tense or worried, it is strongly suggested to practise gomukhasana for at least ten minutes.
- The practice of this asana strengthens muscles of the back and biceps.
- It removes pain in hip and lower extremities.
- It helps in making the spine straight.
- This āsana is very useful in arthritis and dry piles.
- It is useful in frozen shoulders, neck pain and cervical spondylitis.
- It gives good exercise to the lungs and helps in respiratory diseases.
- It helps to greatly ease away tension. For this reason, it has been found very useful for helping to relieve ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sexual malfunctions.
- It directly helps to remove stiffness in the spine, neck and shoulders.
- It also develops the chest and improves breathing.
References in Yogic texts
- Gherand Samhita
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika
savye dakṣhiṇa-ghulkaṃ tu pṝṣhṭha-pārśve niyojayet | dakṣhiṇe|api tathā savyaṃ ghomukhaṃ ghomukhākṝtiḥ || 22 ||
Placing the right ankle on the left side and the left ankle on the right side, makes Gomukha-âsana, having the appearance of a cow.22
Releasing the abdominal wall and directing the breath into the lower abdomen helps the pelvic floor and hip joints to release. Restraining the lower abdomen during an inhalation directs the breath into the thoracic region, which intensifies the stretching in the shoulder structures. The breathing should be normal in the final pose. Inhale slowly and exhale very very slowly. It is also suggested that if you want to practise Ujjayi pranayama, better to do it to extract the maximum benefits of it.
As far as sequence of Gomukhasana is concerned, it can be practised at any place and at any time. It can be done at any stage in your yoga practice program.
- Upward and downward rotation of the scapula needs to precede adduction to avoid over-mobilizing in the shoulder joint.
- If the hips joints are not sufficiently mobile, excessive torque can result in the knee joints.
- Great care should be taken to avoid any strain in the knees, because the menisci are most vulnerable when the knee joints are semiflexed
It should be avoided in the following cases
- Knee injury
- Spinal problems
- Elbow pain