According to Yoga texts like Hatha Rathnavali, different animals were chosen to get the same potential in humans. In that list of animals, Cow is one and is called Govu or gov or Go. Gomukhasana is Cow face pose.
Feet resemble ears, knees resemble jaws, and elbows resemble horns of the cow. This pose should be practiced with a lot of positive mind about the sacredness of Cow.
TEACHING METHODOLOGY ( How to do Gomukhasana ):
Step-1: Sit in Dandasana (stick pose) or Sukhasana (easy pose) which is considered to be Samasthitihi gaze horizontally in front and inhale.
Step-2: Exhale bring the right foot to the outside of the left hip and left foot the outside of the right hip placing the thighs right over the left in line.
Step-3: Inhale rise the right arm from sideways, bend the elbow to place the palm at the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades (scapula).
Step-4: Exhale take the left arm behind to reach the lower back. Now bend the elbow and try to catch the right hand fingers at the level of scapulae. This is the final pose to maintain for 5 to 10 breaths.
Step-5: Inhale release the fingers and bring the left arm to neutral. Then, exhale to bring the right arm to neutral (beside the chest).
Step-6: Inhale to release both the lower limbs to Sukhasana or Dandasana (Samasthitihi). Repeat on the other side.
Benefits of Gomukhasana:
- Reduces stress
- Reduces sciatica by opening Hips, shoulders & ribcage
- Strengthens spine & abdominals because of the proper passage of line of gravity through the middle of the vertebral column.
- This pose has wide base of support and the gravitational force will be lesser.
- This gives good balance & can be useful for meditation.
Practitioner should be able to focus on breath or heart beat or changes of the body during the maintenance phase of this asana. This is the inward journey or awareness. Hence this pose may be able to improve the internal strength by this pose and become as potential as Cow.
Adjustments and Corrections :
- Allow the tail bone down with relaxed lumbar joints.
- Do not press the neck with arm while reaching the scapulae.
- Make sure about the elbows towards midline which stretches the pectoralis minor and serratus muscle enough for apical breathing. Do not tense the neck muscles to prevent the carotid impulses.
- Make sure about the thighs position to have the firm base of support.
- Place a thick blanket under the hip if rising with stiffness.
- Progress to place both palms between scapulae to show the elbows as horns.
Best pose to work on cardiac plexus (Annamaya Kosha).
Vajra nadi activation can prevent the outward spreading and stores back at root centre. Hand grip and touch can complete the circuit that is Anahata Chakra (Pranayama Kosha).
Sambhavi mudra will help for deepening the practice. The spiritual benefits of cow can help the perception as they are positive thoughts for a diseased person (Manomaya Kosha).