Easy Cow Face - Sukha Gomukhasana

The Cow Face improves flexibility of the shoulders and stimulates a good posture. This yoga exercise is especially beneficial to people who spend a lot of hours in front of the computer and have developed kyphosis (rounding of the upper back).

Easy Cow Face - Sukha Gomukhasana

Category 

Chest-Opener

Chakra  

Anahata / Heart Chakra

Meaning

Go means cow and mukha means face.

Benefits of Easy Cow Face

Regular practice steadily and comfortably within a balanced yoga asana program:  

  • Stimulates the Heart Chakra and therefore stimulates the heart, lungs, thymus, and lymph glands—therefore boosting the immune system
  •  Encourages abdominal and diaphragmatic breathing
  • Stretches intercostal muscles and therefore increases lung capacity, which results in higher athletic performance and better coping with respiratory conditions such as asthma
  • Helps to straighten your spine and improve overall body posture
  •  Improves the condition of kyphosis (chronically hunched upper back or rounded shoulders)
  • Removes tension in your shoulders as well as in your upper and middle back.

Instructions for Easy Cow Face

How to come into the pose

  1. Sit on your knees, with your hips resting on your heels.
  2. Extend your right arm to the side, bend your elbow, and place your hand in between your shoulder blades, palm facing away.
  3. Lift your left arm over your head and bend your elbow to place your left palm in between your shoulder blades (palm touching the back).
  4. Clasp your hands behind your back, in between your shoulder blades.

Coming out of the pose

  1. Gently release the grip of your hands, roll your shoulders, and proceed to the other side.

Alignment Cues for Easy Cow Face

  • The back of your neck should be kept as straight as possible.
  • Your lower back should arch only slightly (retaining its natural curve).
  • Try to keep the elbow of your upper arm behind your head.

Duration of Hold

  • Beginners: 30 seconds–1 minute per side
  • Intermediate: 1–2 minutes per side
  • Advanced: 3–5 minutes per side

Modifications

  • If both hands are on your spine, but do not touch, hold on to a strap or towel to provide resistance.
  • If your lower hand does not reach the centre of your spine, do not attempt to clasp the hand. Instead, gently clasp your elbow with the opposite hand and work on the rotation in the shoulder.
  • If sitting on your heels is not comfortable, use a block or cushion underneath your hips.

Cautions and Contra-indications

  • Shoulder issues
  • Knee issues: to decrease strain on the knees, support your hips on a cushion or keep your legs stretched out in front of you

Relevant Poses

Rest in Corpse Pose and then move on to Seated Forward Bend – Paschimottanasana.

For more yoga asanas and exercises, make sure to visit Arhanta Yoga Asana Guide!