Gomukhasana is a therapeutic yoga asana that can help you relax your spine, shoulders, and pelvis. The practice of Gomukhasana is divided into four different phases. Let's explore them one by one.
Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Gomukhasana
The opening of the chest, shoulders, spine, and glutes is crucial before starting the Cow Face pose. Below is a list of warm-up yoga asanas that will help you warm up.
1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) - This yoga flow is perfect for activating all the essential muscles and body parts for Gomukhasana.
Just 5 to 10 rounds of Surya namaskar can increase blood circulation in your shoulders, neck, spine, pelvis, and ankles.
2. Sukhasana (Easy Pose) - This posture is also known as the foundation of all seated yoga asanas. This easy pose helps beginner yogis gain confidence in sitting with their legs crossed, which further strengthens the knee and ankle joints.
Practicing this pose for 5 to 10 minutes can help build stability in the vertebral column, pelvis, and legs due to the internal rotation of the glutes.
3. Baddha Konasana (Cobbler's Pose) - Moving from the Sukhasana pose to Cobbler's pose will help you activate your inner thigh muscles.
To move into this pose, simply change the position of your crossed legs and bend them, touching your feet together in Namaste formation. Hold this pose for five minutes. You can also lean forward and hold the pose for five more minutes to deepen the stretch in your glutes and thighs.
Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Gomukhasana
Here are the following steps for practicing the Cow Face pose:
Step 1: In the center of your yoga mat, sit upright with your head, neck, and spine balanced evenly.
Step 2: Start with Seated Staff Pose. Keep your legs stretched out in a straight line.
Step 3: Bend both your legs from your knees. Now, move your right leg over your left thigh and rest your right thigh on top of it.
Step 4: Your knees will now be stacked on top of one another, and both feet should be on opposite sides, equal distance from the hips.
Step 5: Now, focus on breathing deeply for a few seconds. Inhale deep, and stretch your right arm up, bending it from the elbow, and bringing your right hand behind your back.
Step 6: Now, bend your left arm from your elbow and extend it behind your back from the side of your left oblique.
Step 7: Exhale and deeply inhale again as both your hands clasp each other.
Step 8: Straighten your spine, interlock both your hands, open your chest, engage your pelvis and close both your eyes as you hold your breath here for a few seconds.
Step 9: Exhale and slowly release your clasped hands from behind your back.
Step10: Inhale, exhale again, release your legs from the stacked posture, and sit back into the staff pose.
Inhale steadily while engaging the muscles.
Exhale deeply while releasing the posture.
Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold this pose for 1 to 5 minutes.
Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind
It’s important to keep a few things in mind before starting the Gomukhasana practice:
Be mindful of your alignment: In this pose, alignment is everything. If you cannot align your neck, spine, and tailbone in one straight line, it will be hard for you to open and relax the body.
Don't over-push: If you don't feel flexible enough to clasp your hands behind your back or cross your legs, there is no need to force this pose on your body. Only flex as much as your body allows you to.
Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Gomukhasana
Below is a list of some easy, relaxing yoga stretches that you can practice after Gomukhasana:
1. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose): Post-practice, start your relaxation routine from the Staff pose. Now, stretch both the arms over your head in the air and lean down onto your legs.
As you lean forward, keep your core tight and flex both your arms straight in front of you. Hold this pose for a few minutes until your spine is completely relaxed.
2. Pawanmuktasana (Wind-Releasing Pose): Now, lie down on the mat with your back touching the ground and bend your legs.
Lift your neck and try to hug both your legs with your arms. Hold this pose for a few minutes and allow your tailbone to release any tension.
3. Balasana (The Child’s Pose): Inhale and move into a table-top position, slowly stretching both arms forward. Now, exhale and extend your upper body forward as you place your torso between your legs and sit back.
Hold this position here until your spine, shoulder, and arms feel relaxed, and release this pose.