COW FACE (Gomukhasana)

   

Contra-indications: Shoulder, neck , knee, hip, or elbow pains or injuries.

How to perform: Sit with legs stretched out in front of you. Bend the left leg placing the left knee on top of the straight right leg (easier variation) or on top of the bent right leg (full variation), stacking the knees on top of one another. The feet should rest on the floor on the outside of the hips, as close as possible to them. Reach the right arm up and bend it at the elbow. Bend the left arm behind your back and reach towards the upper right hand. The upper arm's palm is facing the back. The lower arm's palm is facing out. Lift the right elbow up towards the sky and roll the left shoulder back and down reaching for the right hand. If possible, hook or interlock the fingers. of both hands. Hold for 6-12 breaths. Release the arms, uncross the legs, and repeat with the arms and legs reversed.

Do not let the upper elbow sag forward nor pull it behind the head like a pillow - the upper arm should be vertical from the shoulder to the elbow and the head should be perfectly upright.

Do ground yourself through the sitting bones and evenly lengthen both sides of the torso upwards.

What if... I can't clasp my hands? Dangle a strap from the top hand and grasp it with the lower hand. Inch the hands closer together on the strap making the strap short enough to stretch deeply.

Benefits: Releases tension in the shoulder and hip joints. Stretches the ankles, thighs, armpits and triceps. Opens the chest helping to relieve asthma and other respiratory problems. Stimulates the kidneys and is good for diabetes.  Massages and purifies the lymph nodes of the groin and underarms, providing support for the immune system. Alleviates tiredness, tension and anxiety.

  
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