Why would we want to twist our body into the shape of a cow's face? Sometimes the Sanskrit name of a pose can reveal a hidden intention or unexpected aspect of the posture. Gomukhasana translates literally as "cow's face pose." Go is a root word that refers to the senses, because they nourish the conscious mind, just as cow's milk nourishes our body. Mukha means passageway or an aspect of something. Combining the two words we see that gomukha refers to the art of working with the senses as a gateway to a deeper aspect of the mind.
ABOUT Sandra Anderson Initiated into the Himalayan tradition in 1988, author and teacher Sandra Anderson draws on traditional yoga texts and 20 years of study and practice under the guidance of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. She teaches all aspects of yoga nationally, trains teachers, and instructs programs at the Himalayan Institute where she lives. Sandra holds a degree in geology and began her studies in yoga while working throughout the west as an environmental groundwater geologist. View her videos on pranayama and other practices online, and her e-book, "The Breath of Life—The Prana Vayus", and articles on pilgrimage, prayer, and more.