Cow Face Pose variation – Gomukhasana

cowfaceposeFThis is half of the pose.  The full pose also has an excellent arm/shoulder stretch but here we’ll just focus on the legs.  Extend you legs out. Cross one leg over then swing the feet to either side of the body with the goal of getting the knees to stack on each other.  You may need a blanket to place under a hip. One of your hips will certainly come off the floor and one day it will make it to the floor.  Hold this pose for as long as you like or can tolerate and don’t forget to do both sides.  This stretch is excellent for the hip muscles that laterally move your legs.  Exp; Glutes, lateral rotators (perifomis is one of 6 that are deep in your hip, under your glutes). Also you may feel a very intense stretch on the outside of your thigh.  This is your iliotibial band (IT band) The longest tendon in your body and a very important stabilizer!

ANATOMY LESSON: PLACE YOUR HAND ON THE FRONT OF YOUR HIPS. You should feel 2 bony spots on either side of your pelvis these are your ASIS (AKA; Anterior Superior Iliac Spine). The most anterior areas of your pelvis.  Move your fingers just to the outside of the ASIS and this is where the muscles for your IT band originate.  It’s a little Muscle called tensor fascia lata (TFL) It starts then transitions into the IT band. (your gluteus maximus muscles also partially attach to the IT band they form your butt cheeks!  Then the IT band inserts on the outside/lateral side of your knee on your Tibia (the shin bone).  FYI! Muscles transition into tendons and then attach to the bone.

PHOTO BY amyelizabethbruce