Lancashire Yogi has been practicising an asana that tickles him (literally and metaphorically speaking). It’s an arm and leg twister, and is known by the name of Gomukhasana. Most people refer to it as the ‘cow face’ pose typically because when you are in it’s final position, from the front it looks a bit like a cows face. Lancashire Yogi has written elsewhere about his love for ‘animal yoga’ so he’s keen to add this one to the repertoire of animal postures.
When he gets in position, Lancashire Yogi finds that it seems to clear his head or mind; and somehow he feels more energised. He knows that the inner winds often get clogged up around the hips and the shoulders. So he thinks that this position probably helps to unblock the blockages and allow the inner winds to flow more. This in turn calms the mind and eases the cittas from vritting.
On a more mundane level, for most people who drive a great deal, sit daily at desks, spend their evening sitting on sofas watching TV, or typing at computers, the hips and the shoulders are classic tension points. So this exercise even on the level of just loosening you up, has to be worth a go.
Good old yoga journal has the exercise well described here: so you can explore it in some detail. All the usual yoga books have it too – it’s a classic yoga asana so you should be able to track it down. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga provides a very good description.
Interestingly, the cow is sacred in the land of Yoga, and Lancashire Yogi can’t help thinking that there is more than a passing connection with the cow head name- perhaps like it’s namesake, the pose is fairly sacred. And perhaps that is what the “light headed pose” name is all about. Of course, the posture appears to work on loosening the sacrum (which is the triangular-like bone in the lower back between the two hipbones of the pelvis). And the sacrum has been regarded itself, as a holy or sacred bone, because in history, it apparantly could not be destroyed and was regarded as literally the seat of fertility, being situated in the loins. So that’s the sacram bit..what about the light headed bit. Well, the Druid, one of Lancashire Yogi’s good friends (you can read about him elsewhere on the blog), describes the pose as a a bit of nut cracker…for men…and that is why it can make you light headed. Laughing aside, Lancashire Yogi thinks that the term “light headed pose” is linked not to the light headedness of being twisted or straining, but rather the clarity of mind that happens when the inner winds flow and the energy is flowing through the body, from sacram to head. It’s definately one to explore further: so if you have any ideas please do write a comment to share.
The thing that Lancashire Yogi likes most about yoga is that it is only by practicising that you can experience the benefits of yoga: you can’t theorise, you have to practice – so why not have a go? Try to observe the effect on limbs and mind, energy and thought.
Interestingly, Lancashire Yogi has never practised this asana in a field of cows. He wonders what their reaction would be. Next time he’s on a walk and sees a field of cows he’ll investigate.. who knows where this will lead?!