Definition - What does Gomukhasana mean?
Gomukhasana is a seated yoga posture that stretches several parts of the body simultaneously, including the ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, underarms, triceps and chest. The name comes from the Sanskrit go, meaning "cow," mukha, meaning "face," and asana, meaning "pose."
To perform this asana, the practitioner sits with the spine straight. The knees are bent so that the left foot goes under the right knee, to the outside of the right hip. Then the right leg goes over the left, so that the right knee stacks on top of the left. The right arm is bent and brought behind the back, while the left arm is brought over the left shoulder. The hands attempt to touch behind the back. This process is repeated on the opposite side.
Gomukhasana is commonly referred to as cow face pose in English.
Yogapedia explains Gomukhasana
Gomukhasana helps increase the flexibility of the back, aids in the treatment of sciatica, stimulates the kidneys, and stretches the hips and thighs. This asana also stimulates the svadisthana (spleen or sacral) chakra and the anahata (heart) chakra. These chakras are the centers of pleasure, enjoyment, love and compassion, which makes gomukhasana a powerful pose.
Gomukhasana can be difficult for practitioners with very tight shoulders. If the practitioner's hands cannot touch, a yoga strap can be used to ease the strain. If the individual has trouble getting both sit bones to rest evenly on the floor or with stacking the knees, using a folded blanket or bolster to lift and support the sit bones/knees can be very helpful.