Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
Benefits: Stretches the front and sides of the shoulders and chest area, allows for deeper breathing into the lungs
As with all exercise, you need to listen to your body, keep the back of the neck and spine lengthened and the rib cage lifted. Remember to breathe as you work with the different exercises.
Sit with legs together and your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Slide your left foot underneath your right knee so that it sits to the outside of the right hip. Move your right leg over your left, stacking the right knee on top of the left and bringing your right foot outside your left hip. Use your hands to pull your feet closer to your hips if needed, taking care that you’re still sitting evenly across the pelvis.
Stretch your right arm straight out to the right and rotate your shoulder so your palm faces back behind you. Bend at the elbow, bringing your hand up against your back so that it sits in the middle of your spine.
Stretch your left arm out towards your left then raise it up towards the ceiling. Bend your left arm at the elbow so you can reach your left hand down to grasp the right. If joining your hands isn’t possible, you can hold on to either end of a yoga strap until you’ve built up strength and flexibility. Lift your left elbow towards the ceiling, while pulling your right elbow towards the floor to feel it more fully in the shoulder girdle.
Breathe and hold for 45-60 seconds before repeating the pose with arms and legs swapped. Take care that your lower arm corresponds with the leg that is on top.