Cow Face Pose. An interesting name for a yoga posture, and it took me a while to get why it is called this! When you are in the posture, the legs represent the cows’ mouth and the arms are the cows’ ears! See it?
This is probably one of the hardest and most uncomfortable of the yoga postures for me. My hips are quite internally rotated (which means they turn in slightly) so I find it postures that work on external rotation (turning the hips outwards) particularly challenging. And this pose also involves sitting nice and tall and stretching the shoulders…
But they do say the the poses we dislike are the poses that our bodies need the most. So I will keep practicing. The release I feel in my hips after this posture (especially when practicing this pose in yin yoga, where I hold it for 3 minutes!) is truly worth the struggle (saying that, we should never push ourselves too far in yoga, if this pose feels like too much for you, leave it out and practice a different hip opening posture for a few weeks first. Especially if you feel any sharp sensations in your knees.. STOP IMMEDIATELY!)
How to do Cow Face Pose-
Come into Staff Pose (Dandasana)
Bend your knees and draw your feet closer to the body.
Take your left foot and slide it into the space underneath the right leg, bringing the pinky side of your left foot down onto the mat close to your right hip.
Now stack the right knee over the top of the left knee, creating a mirror image of the left leg, so the pinky side of the right foot is resting next to the left hip.
Ensure both sit bones are in contact with the floor. If they aren’t, sit on a pillow or a folded blanket.
Sit up nice a tall, lengthening the spine.
Bring your right arm behind the body and place the back of your hand in between your shoulder blades.
Reach your left arm up. Bending at the elbow, bring your left hand behind you and take hold of your right hand with your left. If you cannot reach, use a belt if you have one. If not, as long as the intention is there you are doing it! Just try to keep your chest open and your spine straight (I often see people in my classes desperately trying to join their hands together at the cost of their straight spine and open chest. Try not to do this!)
Hold the position for 5 breaths (or 3 minutes if you are practicing yin yoga) before changing to do the other side.
Stretches and externally rotates the hips.
Stretches the shoulders.
Opens the chest area – which allows for fuller breathing.
Stretches the ankles, armpits and triceps.
Do not practice this posture if you have knee problems, or neck or shoulders injuries. Exercise caution when practicing this pose. As with all yoga postures, listen to your body and its limitations TODAY. They may be different from yesterday.
Please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions about this posture, or leave a comment below.