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10- MIN YOGA  SESSION  BASED AROUND (ARMS OF) GOMUKHASANA (Cow's Face Pose)    (13)

Arms of Gomukhasana Session 13
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (1.5 minutes)
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position beside a wall so your hip is a few centimetres from the wall. Use supports (e.g. yoga blocks or folded towels) under your pelvic girdle if that increases easefullness. Lift the arm on the wall side to place little finger side of hand against wall as high as you can reach. Inhaling, stretch the arm/hand up as much as you can and aim to ease the shoulder joint a little closer to the wall (with trunk leaning sideways). Exhaling, bend the elbow, moving the hand to the spine between the shoulder blades. Inhaling, straighten the arm, returning edge of hand to wall. Exhaling, rotate the forearm to bring the palm to facing the wall and, continuing to exhale, press the hand into wall (aiming to keep the shoulder close to the wall, but allowing elbow to move away from wall). Inhaling, rotate the forearm to bring the hand to facing forwards. And, continuing to inhale, stretch the arm up a far as you can, aiming to ease the shoulder a little closer to the wall. Continue this breathing-movement cycle 2 or 3 more times. Then lower hand and repeat to the other side.

SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (3 minutes)
Sit with back about a couple of centimetres from the wall, lift one arm sideways to shoulder-level (palms currently facing floor) with the little finger side of hand against wall. Slightly bending the arm, rotate it as a whole so that back of the hand is taken to the wall and, at the same time, draw the shoulder-blade down towards the floor. Keeping the back of the hand against the wall, bend and lift the arm until the forearm is parallel to the floor and over your shoulders. Press the elbow backwards against the wall. Bring the other hand up to the elbow and use to gently encourage the elbow to be close to its opposite side. Allow the forearm to lower so your hand ends up behind your back between your shoulder blades. Use the other hand to explore the possibility of easing the elbow a little further – then press the elbow against the hand (which resists the movement). Press your head backwards into your arm, and press the elbow backwards to the wall. Hold for about 3 breaths. Slowly relax the pressing of the elbow into the hand, slightly take the head forwards and very, very gently explore the possibility of easing the elbow a little further. Return to pressing your head and elbow backwards – hold for another 3 breaths. Very gently release the stretch and then slowly release by reversing movements of entering the pose.

THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (1.5 minutes)
Sit well away from a wall, with arms in a loose curve and one hand resting in the other (palms facing upwards) just in front of your abdomen. Inhaling, lift one arm forwards, maintaining its loose curve, until the arm is above the shoulder girdle. Exhaling, rotate the shoulder girdle about the axis of the spine, leading with the elbow. Continuing to exhale, lower the elbow to shoulder level and then straighten the arm (at shoulder level), turning your head to look along the length of the arm. Inhaling, lift the arm back to a loose curve above the shoulder girdle, returning head and shoulder girdle to facing forwards. Exhaling, lower arm forwards, returning the hand to rest with the other hand. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 or 3 more times to each side. Pause for a couple of breaths with one hand resting in the other just in front of the abdomen.

FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Either sit to practise a breathing or meditation exercise or lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try imagining sitting on a yellow square which represents the foundation stone upon which your life rests. And mentally list the qualities you would wish such a foundation stone to have (e.g. strength, stability, resilience …) and, when you come to the end of the qualities that come to mind, start the list again. Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.