Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana

How to do Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana
By Yoga Lily 7 years ago
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Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana: Yoga Seated, Floor Posture

Yoga Classes in Milton Keynes

Gomukhasana – Looking from above, this posture resembles the face of a cow, with the feet making the horns and knees making the mouth. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) is a simple seated posture that packs in amazing benefits to the body for a single pose. This pose addresses two of the most common areas for chronic pain and tension in the body: the hips and shoulders – Gomukhasana with Yoga Lily, Hatha Yoga Classes in Milton Keynes.

1. Many people benefit by first warming up the hips with Ankle-to-Knee Pose (Agnistambhasana). Sit cross-legged with the left leg in front. Pick up the left leg and place the left ankle on top of the right knee. Position the lower leg so the right ankle is on the floor underneath the left knee and the shinbones will form a triangle with the thighs. Flex the heels of both feet, activating the inner thighs and calf muscles. Let gravity help the left knee release down. To increase hip opening, lean forward and slide the hands along the floor. Stay for one minute, then change sides.

Ankle-to-Knee Pose, Agnistambhasana

First warm up the hips with Ankle-to-Knee Pose (Agnistambhasana).

2. Sit on the floor with the feet apart and the knees slightly bent. Bring the right foot under the left knee and place the heel close to the left hip. Have the toes pointing left. Then bring the left foot close to the right hip, toes pointing to the right. The left knee should now be over the right knee. If it doesn’t approach this work on hip openers such as step one above (preparation for cow posture – Agnistambhasana). Keep the weight equally distributed between sitting bones. Press the left knee down with both hands to bring these together.

3. Extend your left arm out to the side and rotate the shoulder inward so the palm faces the back and some points down. Bend the elbow and bring the left hand behind the back, Palm facing outward. Stretch the right arm up, rotate the arm from the shoulder so that the thumb points backward, then bend the elbow to clasp the hands behind the back. Move the right elbow back and more to the centre line behind the head and lift the chest.

Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana – Front View

Front view – Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana


Back view – Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana

Back view – Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana

Take a few breaths, then release the hands, then legs and repeat on the other side.



Gaze: Upward

Build-up poses:

  • Easy Seated Pose Forward Bend
  • Half Lotus Pose
  • Cow Face Forward Fold

Counter Poses:

  • Hero Pose, Virasana
  • Extended Child Pose, Utthita Balasana
  • Seated Staff Posture, Dandasana

Lighten pose:

  • Sit on a block or folded blanket
  • Hold a belt between the hands and inch the hands together

Effect: Centering


Beginner’s Tip

Beginners often have a difficult time getting both sitting bones to rest evenly on the floor, which can make it difficult for the knees to stack on top of each other evenly. When the pelvis is tilted, the spine can’t properly extend. Use a folded blanket or bolster to lift the sitting bones off the floor and support them evenly.

Modifications and Props

Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana, with strapGomukhasana is a notoriously difficult pose for tight-shouldered people, who aren’t able to hook their fingers together. The simple solution to this dilemma is to hold a strap between the hands.


If you have difficulty sitting cross-legged with your hips on the floor, lighten the pose with a yoga block under your sitting bones.



Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana Counter Poses

In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralise” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.


Hero Pose, Virasana


Utthita Balasana, Extended Child Pose

Extended Child Pose, Utthita Balasana


Dandasana - Seated Staff Posture

Seated Staff Posture, Dandasana


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 Yoga Lily

  (114 articles)

Lili has been studying and practising yoga in China & UK for 20 years, and teaching since 2007. She draws inspiration from her training within established, classical yoga systems that focus on alignment, hatha vinyasa in its gentler form, yin, yin/yang, and restorative yoga styles, pranayama and meditation; blending the roots of Chinese healing traditions into a more holistic practice. For her, practice covers not just the physical aspects of yoga but also aligning and unblocking the bodies meridian energy pathways to release Qi energy (prana) which flows through the bodies energy highway, bringing the mind, body and spirit back into balance. “I am continually humbled by my students and teachers, my aim is always to teach from the heart and from the idea that yoga is the art of living, listening and learning, to embody this deeply spiritual tradition” – Lili Chen.