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Gomukhasana (Sanskrit: गौमुखासन; IAST: Gomukhāsana) or Cow Face Pose[1] is a seated asana in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise, sometimes used for meditation.

Etymology and origins[edit]

The name comes from the Sanskrit गौgo meaning "cow", मुख mukha meaning "face" or "mouth",[2] and आसन āsana meaning "posture" or "seat".[3]

The pose is ancient as it is described in the Darshana Upanishad, written around the 4th century.[4] It is sometimes used for meditation and pranayama.[5]


The pose is entered from kneeling by crossing the legs; the heel of the upper leg is tucked in under the lower thigh near the buttock. The arm on the lower leg side is raised, the forearm bent down, while the other arm reaches down behind the back, the forearm bent up, so the hands can clasp between the shoulder blades.[6]

The sitting position can be modified either by putting a folded blanket on the heels, and if need be also one beneath them.[6]

The pose stretches the shoulders. The hand position can be modified using a strap to extend the reach for those who cannot bring the hands together behind the back. The pose is contra-indicated for people with a rotator cuff injury.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yoga Journal - Cow Face Pose". Retrieved 2011-04-09.
  2. ^ "Gomukhasana A". Ashtanga Yoga. Archived from the original on 11 February 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  3. ^ Sinha, S. C. (1996). Dictionary of Philosophy. Anmol Publications. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-7041-293-9.
  4. ^ Ayyangar, T. R. Srinivasa (trans.) (1938). The Yoga Upanishads. Adyar, Madras: The Adyar Library. p. 124.
  5. ^ "Gomukhasana (Cow Face Posture)". The Divine Life Society. 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2019. Hence, this Asana is suitable for the practice of Pranayama. Ordinarily you can sit at all times in this Asana for long meditation also.
  6. ^ a b Mehta, Silva; Mehta, Mira; Mehta, Shyam (1990). Yoga: The Iyengar Way. Dorling Kindersley. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-86318-420-8.
  7. ^ Swanson, Ann (2019). Science of yoga : understand the anatomy and physiology to perfect your practice. New York, New York: DK Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-4654-7935-8. OCLC 1030608283.

Further reading[edit]