This asana gets its name from three Sanskrit words:
- ‘Go’, which means cow
- ‘Mukha’, which means face
- ‘Asana’, which means pose
It is so named because when it’s performed, your body looks like the face of a cow. This pose benefits those with a stiff back and backache. It also stretches various parts of the body, targeting your shoulders and hips – two common sites for pain and tension.
Steps to perform the Gomukhasana:
- Sit on the mat or floor with your legs together and stretched out in front of you.
- Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
- Then slide your left foot below your right knee, going towards the outside of your right hip.
- Continue sitting straight as you lift your right arm over your head.
- Now fold at the elbow so that your palm touches your upper back.
- Bring your left hand around from your left side and try to hold your right palm.
- Hold this position for about 20 deep breaths.
- Repeat these steps on the other side but changing the legs and the arms.
Things to keep in mind while doing this pose:
- When you tuck your left foot below the right knee, try to keep both heels equidistant from your hips.
- As your right leg is on top, tug your right heel in to get it closer to your left hip.
- You should be sitting flat on the mat or the floor. No one side should have more weight than the other.
- Make sure your torso is straight.
- When you lift your arm over your head, the upper arm should touch your ear.
- When you hold the pose, make sure your chest is lifted, and your back is straight.
- If you cannot make your hands touch, you can use a scarf or a short belt so that both hands can hold on to it.
Benefits of the Gomukhasana:
- It strengthens the arms, legs, knees and back.
- It is a great pose for people with breathing problems, especially bronchitis and asthma.
- It is helpful in sciatica.
- This pose stimulates the kidneys.
- Regular practice of this asana reduces anxiety and stress.
- This asana should not be practised by those with serious neck problems or injuries.
- Those with shoulder or knee injuries should also avoid this asana.
- If you cannot clasp your palms, do not force it or go beyond your abilities.
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