Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose.
- Begin in Vajrasana – Thunderbolt Pose i.e. Sitting on one’s heels, knees together
- Bring the hands to the floor lifting the tailbone off the heels
- Bring and cross the right leg in front of the left knee
- Move the back left foot out to the right side
- Gently move one’s weight backwards and the tailbone / sit bones to sit in between the feet with the feet on either side of the hips
- Consciously push the side of the feet into the mat to deepen the stretch in the hips
- One can clasp the hands around the front knee to remain as upright as possible
- Elongate the spine creating space between the vertebrae
- One can remain in that position or move further into the full classic pose as follows:
- Stretch both arms up and bring the right arm down and take the right arm behind the back moving the right forearm and hand as high up as is comfortable and possible up the spine between the shoulder blades
- Bend the left arm alongside the head and take the left hand down the spine to either a.) meet the right hand and clasp the fingers or b.) meet the fingers as close as is possible or c.) Grab and clasp one’s T-shirt, left hand / fist pointing down, right hand / fist pointing up
- Level the head to a neutral position
- Soften into the shoulders
- Hold for 5 breaths as a beginner and 8 – 10 breaths as a more advanced practitioner.
- Release the grip of the hands, stretch top arm up and straight
- Gently release back arm out and up and release both arms down
- Bring the hands to the floor, un-cross the legs and swap the cross of the legs
- Repeat same on the opposite side
- Note: Arm position is opposite to leg position i.e. when left leg is crossed in front of right, then
- Right arm is up and left arm is behind the back
Counterpose / Pratikryasana:
- Dandasana – Staff Pose
- Baddha Konasana – Butterfly or Cobbler Pose
- Tarasana – Relaxed forward bend
- Stretches and opens the hips
- Stretches the Gluteus muscles
- Assists to elongate the spine
- Stretches and strengthens the upper arms i.e. the triceps muscles
- Releases tension in between the shoulders
- Opens and expands the chest when arms are engaged in pose thereby improving breathing
Cautions and Modifications:
- One can also begin in Dandasana – Staff pose and cross the legs accordingly
- Do not do the arm position if recovering or suffering from shoulder issues
- For extremely tight hips which results in difficulty crossing the legs appropriately, place a block under one buttock, e.g. if right leg is crossed in front, place block under left buttock and vice versa
- One can also use a belt in between the hands to grasp if one cannot reach the hands in the arm position
- Be cautious with knee issues, recovering injuries etc. One can place a rolled hand towel underneath the affected knee to minimize discomfort. Sitting on a block under the relevant buttock will also assist to alleviate any knee discomfort.
Manipura – Navel Centre.
May your practice continue to strengthen, enlighten and bless you in every respect!
Yours in Yoga,
Juanita Caprari is a certified Yoga teacher and Public Relations Practitioner. She started her Yoga practice in 2002. She has completed two Yoga Teacher Training Courses, the last one through Ananda Kutir Ashram and has been teaching Yoga since 2007. firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.yogamala.co.za or www.facebook.com/YogaMalaCapeTown