If you could pick only yoga one pose to do daily, which one would it be? As many of us have jobs, are busy with kids, and have maybe a few scraps of time to ourselves everyday, the question becomes “which yoga pose can we do daily?”
Before I reveal which one, let me tell you why you need to do this mystery pose. This is the position our body is in for 8 hours a day at work:
And this is what position our body is in during a 1-2 hour commute five days per week:
What do you think our shoulders are like after 10 hours of being hunched over something? They are tight as heck! Therefore, the pose one should and can do everyday is Gomukhasana arms (Cow’s face pose). Not only can you do this pose everyday, you can do it several times per day. You don’t need a yoga studio, you don’t need a teacher, you don’t need incense, you don’t even need a playlist. All you need is the ability to stand up and swing your arms around.
Gomukhasana arms are among the very first of the asanas one has to learn on the Iyengar certification syllabus. I think this was deliberate, as many have horribly stiff shoulders. Having pliable shoulders opens up worlds of asanas, particularly in Purva Pratana Sthiti (back bending clan). Conversely, having chronically stiff shoulders is just a miserable way to function.
Most people have difficulty doing classic Gomukhasana arms as seen below.
There is no need to fret. Here is how to get the same actions of the classic pose with one arm.
First stand in Tadasana.
Then take your right arm and rotate it inward from the top arm.
Bring your arm forward across the front plane of your body.
And swing your arm diagonally bringing your hand to your back.
From here, hold the right hand with the left and pull to close the gap between the arm and the torso.
Then move the hand between the shoulder blades
Repeat the other side.
Stand in Tadasana and raise the right arm to Urdhva Hastasana.
Rotate the arm out from the upper arm. You can use your left around the bicep/tricep to guide the rotation. Keep the upper arm near the ear.
Bend the elbow and see if you can place the hand in the middle of the shoulder blades.
Now combine Step I and Step II.
If you cannot reach the fingers, use a belt, towel, jacket, or anything made of cloth lying around.
Once you have hold of the fingers or strappage, roll both upper arms out to expand the chest.
This may not be the most glamorous way to practice, or even the most preferable. But any yoga is better than no yoga. And you will be amazed at how big of a difference this pose makes if you do it several times a day for a month. You will definitely be able to throw away your back scratcher.