With Jaclyn Nguyen from Eat.Play.Yoga.
After a brutal session with dumbbells at the gym, I need a stretch that provides a full release on my shoulder and hip muscles. For this reason, I like to practice Cow Face pose (Gomukhasana). Not many beginners like this pose, but always keep this in mind: the more you don’t like, or feel “uncomfortable”, with a pose, the more your body needs it. It’s time to give back to your body for all it’s done for you.
Benefits of Cow Face Pose
This restorative seated pose provides a deep stretch for your shoulders, deltoids, triceps, armpits, chest, thighs, hips and ankles. It improves your posture by decompressing the low spine. Cow Face pose also unblocks the hip-joint, which is where we store stress, fear and anxiety.
Cow Face Pose Step-by-Step
- Find a seat. Place your bent right knee on top of your bent left knee so that your knees are stacked directly in the center of your body and draw your heels close to your body. Make sure both sit bones are glued to the floor to keep your hips leveled.
- Lift your chest and sit up straight and tall so that your spine is flat.
- Reach your left arm to the sky and bend the left elbow so the palm rests on your upper back.
- Bend your right elbow and move the right hand behind your back with your palm facing out.
- Hook your fingers together behind your back so that your hands are between your shoulder blades.
- Energetically lift your left elbow towards the sky and your right elbow towards the ground beneath you as you take five deep breaths.
- Carefully unwind, and repeat on the other side.
If it is difficult for you to hook your hands during Cow Face pose, use a strap or a small towel.
For an even deeper stretch, try the folded variation. While keeping your back flat and your chest lifted, slowly guide your upper body and gaze towards your knees with every exhale. Inhale lengthen through the spine, exhale fold a little deeper.
Ahhh…it feels so good…