The assignment I focused on this time for my yoga teacher training was Cow Face pose, named “Gomukhasana” in Sanskirt. It is challenging for me to do this pose well because it requires both the upper body and hips to cooperate.
The hip-opener segment is difficult because both knees are to be stacked on top of each other, while both feet hugging close to the body. “Active” website adds cues including: have both sitting bones grounded on the floor, otherwise use a blanket for support. For complete alignment, make sure the knees are level with the chin. At the same time, both of the hands are clasped together, one arm under and the other arm above, reaching behind the back. A strap is helpful here if the hands do not reach. The advanced position is to fold forward from the hip joints until belly meets the thigh. The whole time, it is important to keep the spine straight and chest lifted.
This asana stretches the outer hips, thighs, ankles and aides with knee pain. It also addresses the triceps, deltoids, subscapularis, rhomboids, teres minor, and latissimus dorsi. Other benefits are that is strengthens the spine and abdominals, helps decompress the low spine, and creates space within the hip joint. I also like to think that by doing two movements in a pose like this, like Eagle pose, the brain is benefiting from multiple activity. After gathering energy in the upper body and lower body through these tight actions, the body is able to flush fresh blood throughout the system upon release. This pose is uncomfortable, but I am noticing results quickly as I practice often.