By Atul Vyas
From the Sanskrit “gau” meaning “cow,” and “Mukha,” meaning “face,” Gomukhasana invites us to playfully place our bodies in a shape that resembles the face of a cow. It is a yogic posture for internal rotation and external rotation of superior extremities and flexion exercise for inferior extremities.
- Sit on the ground with the left leg bent so that heel touches the bottom
- Bend the right leg so that the right heel touches the left buttock. Ensure that the right knee should be above the left knee
- Now raise the right arm above your head and bend it at the elbow taking it behind the right shoulder towards backsliding it down with the back of the hand touching the back
- Now bend the left arm at the elbows taking it behind the back moving the forearms upwards with the back of the hands moving along the spine. Push the forearm up as far it goes
- Keep sliding the forearm of the right arm down so that it meets the left hand behind the back and interlock fingers of both hands while sitting erect
- Breathe normally. Hold the pose for 15 seconds
- Repeat the process with another side in which the right leg would be on the ground and the left leg over it
- Helps in improving sleep and concentration
- Helps in case of frozen shoulders
- Makes knees, feet, and waist strong
The unique feature of this Asana is that it is very useful in diseases of the lungs. People suffering from tuberculosis, and asthma may practice it daily. Respiratory movement of the lung on the side this posture is being performed is almost stopped while other lung works more rapidly and vigorously. This way the cleansing actions of the lung is initiated and enhanced, which cleans the pores and alveoli of the lungs.
Note of Caution
One should not apply force to hook the fingers at the back if the arms are stiff. Similarly, if pelvic joints are stiff do not apply force to put one knee over the other. Only through gradual practice, you can assume correct posture.
People suffering from tendinitis, osteoarthritis, hydrocele, and dislocation of the shoulder joint should not perform this asana.
(The author likes to be called a “Yoga Scientist.” He is a celebrity yoga trainer and has trained several top Hollywood and Bollywood stars. He has trained for years under many eminent yoga gurus including his illustrious mother Daya Vyas, the first lady yoga guru of India.)