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A woman sits on a yoga mat doing the cow face yoga pose.

The Benefits of Cow Face Yoga Pose

The cow face yoga pose may look like a very advanced pose, but it’s actually quite accessible.

This yoga pose is actually a lot of fun and offers a slew of helpful benefits for your everyday life. If you spend a lot of time on your phone or looking down at a computer, this yoga pose can help you recover energy lost due to poor posture.

It can also help you feel more energized by literally freeing up energy by stretching your spine and opening your shoulders.

Trust us. You don’t have to be a yogi to master the cow face yoga pose!

Let’s jump right into cow face pose (also known as Gomukhasana in Sanskrit), so you can begin practicing today.

What is Cow Face Pose?

Cow face pose is a yoga pose that primarily focuses on increasing flexibility more than strength.

This pose targets the Heart chakra and Sacral chakra by stretching the shoulders and hips. This is a seated pose that can be modified for all flexibility levels. If you look at someone in the yoga pose straight on, you’re meant to see a cow face, just as the name suggests: the crossed legs mirroring lips, and the arms as ears.

If you have any injuries, especially shoulder or knee injuries, this pose should be avoided. If you have other injuries or health conditions, you should consult with your physician before practicing this pose.

The Benefits of Cow Face Pose

Here are some of the many benefits of cow face pose for your mind, body, and soul:

  • Helps balance flexibility on both sides of the body.
  • Helps correct hunched posture.
  • Helps relieve pain in the shoulders, neck, and hips.
  • It can help relieve lower back pain caused by lumbar spine compression.
  • Improves circulation and stimulates digestion.
  • It helps release grief, anger and opens one to new healthy experiences.
  • It can help reduce soreness after a tough workout or vinyasa yoga class.
  • Increases overall energy by freeing up the spine as well as creative energy stored in the hips.
  • It can help balance emotions, allow you to overcome heartache, and reduce addictive tendencies.
  • Stretches the triceps, deltoids, back, hips, glutes, quadriceps, and ankles.

Make sure to also check out: The Benefits of Cat-Cow Pose

Step-by-Step Instructions for Cow Face Pose

These easy step-by-step instructions will teach you how to do cow face pose at home.

Make sure to practice on a yoga mat or softer surface!

Step 1

Begin seated and stack your right knee over your left with your feet next to your body by opposite hips. The further away your feet are from your body, the deeper the stretch will be.

Step 2

Reach your right arm up and behind you as you reach your left arm down and behind you to see if your hands can clasp. This is where you may want to use a yoga strap or towel and hold both sides. Most people, even experienced yogis, will use a prop for this!

Step 3

Keep your spine straight as you ease into the yoga pose so that you’re not twisted or hunched. This will allow you to open your chest and help correct your posture.

Step 4

Breathe deeply in and out of your nose five times, relaxing your shoulders and hips. You have the option to deepen the pose by leaning forward when you’ve grasped your hands or a strap behind you to deepen the stretch in the hips.

Step 5

Release your arms and switch, so your left knee sits on top of the right. Doing both sides is important, so your body feels even!

Step 6

Reach your left arm up and bend your arm, so your hand reaches down your back as your right arm reaches behind you and up your back to try and meet the left hand or grab the strap. You may notice one side is much tighter, which is completely normal.

Again, see if you can lean forward as you take five slow deep breaths in and out of your nose.

You might also really love: Combat Neck & Shoulder Pain With These 7 Yoga Poses

Step 7

Return to seated and bring both legs out in front of you as you relax your arms down by your sides.

When Should I Do Cow Face Pose?

Cow face pose should be done after warming up your muscles and joints to not hurt yourself. Once you’re warm, if you have any pain in the pose, pull back, and find the point that doesn’t hurt.

Yoga is not a competition but rather something intended to be practiced each day to make slow and steady progress.

Simple sun salutations are always a great and safe way to warm up the body’s major muscle groups and joints before attempting poses that offer a deep stretch.

Modifications for Cow Face Pose

Sitting on a folded blanket can help those who have tight hips as it creates more space for your knees to cross, similar to being elevated in a chair. You may want to place a blanket under you to provide an extra cushion for your ankle bones. You may find that one hip sticks up when you cross your legs, and you can support your hip by placing a blanket under it in this situation as well.

If you have tight knees, you can place a pillow or blanket between them to provide extra support.

If reaching behind your back is difficult, you can do eagle arms in front of your chest as an alternate shoulder stretch. This is done by wrapping one elbow under the other, bringing the palms to meet, and then switching the wrap when you switch legs.

Will you try the cow face yoga pose?

Related article: 6 Reasons to Practice Iyengar Yoga

Shannon Yrizarry

Shannon Yrizarry

Trusting her intuition has brought Shannon a wealth of gifts and she brings this wisdom to Daily Life … daily! Instead of following the "norms" of career development, Shannon followed her gut. It's led her to some extraordinary places and experiences as a healer, clairvoyant, metaphysical teacher and Kundalini yoga instructor.... Read More

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