Arm Variations

Gomukhasana Arms (Cow Face Pose)

Cow Face pose

Level: All levels
Category: Arm Variation

Go = cow. Mukha = face. Gomukha = the name of a traditional musical instrument comparable to a horn or trumpet

This arm variation can be further broken down by doing one raised arm at a time without the arm behind the back and one arm behind the back at a time without doing the raised arm. This second part would also be a preparation for Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose).

Organizing the pose

    Raised Arm

    • Raise the left arm up.
    • Hold the left wrist in the right hand. As you do this, completely relax the left arm and shoulder muscles so that all the weight of the arm drops into the right hand.
    • Keeping the left arm and shoulder relaxed, pull the wrist vertically up (without tilting to the right) out of the left waist as you reach the left leg down and ground the foot into the floor.
    • Take your right hand to the left upper arm from the front and grip the triceps (the muscles on the outside and back of the upper arm). See if you can not only grip the muscle, but also grip the bone underneath with your right hand.
    • Keeping the shoulder muscles soft, roll the triceps forward, and lift the arm bone up, creating a little space in the shoulder joint.
    • Bend the elbow, bringing the fingertips down in between the shoulder blades. Keep rolling the triceps forward with the right hand.

    Lowered Arm

    • Bring the right hand behind the back and up between the shoulder blades and interlock the fingers or clasp the hands. If the hands do not reach, clasp a belt with both hands.
    • Broaden through the collarbone and settle the shoulder blade against the back ribs.
    • Hold the position for several breaths.
    • Release and repeat on the second side.

Practice Points

    • Broaden the back into the hand, rather than pressing the hand into the back and jutting the ribs forward.
    • Bring the raised elbow in towards the head, turning the upper arm bone.
    • Allow the upper arm bone of the arm behind the back to roll in.
    • Broaden the upper back and the tops of the shoulders.
    • Lift and open both sides of the chest evenly.
    • Broaden the collarbones evenly.
    • Balance the head so that the ears can remain above the shoulders and not be pushed forward or to the side.