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Basic Facts about the Yoga Posture (Asana)
The Cow Face Posture (whose original Indian name is Gomukhasana) in Yoga is suitable for toning the muscles in the arms, legs and back.
Note that Go means Cow, and Mukha means Face. The posture gets its name because the person performing it resembles a Cow-Face, which is wide at one end and tapering toward the other.
- Sit on the ground with your head and spine erect. Extend your legs forward such that your knees and heels are placed together. Place your palms on the ground next to your hips. Raise your body above ground level so that you can bend your right leg backwards and sit on your right foot. With the help of your hands, bend your left leg such that the left knee is over your right knee and the left heel touches the right heel (or the lower part of your right thigh in the early stages).
- Place your right arm at the back, bend it at the elbow and lift the forearm upwards. Next, lift your left arm over the shoulder, bend it at the elbow and place the left hand at the back below the neck. Try to lock the fingers of both hands behind the shoulder blades with your head upright.
- Remain in this final posture breathing normally for about a minute or your breakpoint*.
- Since the posture is not symmetric, repeating the above steps by interchanging the words 'left' and 'right' will ensure that both legs and both arms are built uniformly.
Tips and Comments
- In the early stages, you may experience difficulties getting the legs and arms to the correct final positions; however, regular practice will make the process easier. Beginners with rigid joints should proceed with care.
- *Breakpoint is the time upto which you can comfortably remain in a yoga posture. It varies from individual to individual depending on one's fitness, age and will power.
Potential Benefits of the Yoga Posture (Asana)
- The Cow Face Posture (Gomukhasana) helps in mainly developing the muscles in the legs (gluteus maximus and vastus lateralis), arms (biceps, triceps and brachioradialis), and trunk (latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major). It decreases cramps and sprains. It increases strength of bones and flexibility of joints in both the legs and arms.
- The yoga posture aids in treating digestive disorders.
- The total expansion of the chest helps the lungs and heart, whereas the complete extension of the spine helps the back.
- The yoga posture is suggested for practicing Breath Control (Pranayama) and Meditation (Dhyana).
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