Sanskrit Term: GOMUKHASANA = COW FACE POSE Go = Cow Mukha = Face Asana = pose (pronunciation: go-moo-KAHS-anna)
Why You Should Practice Gomukhasana
If you are looking for some juicy hip opening action coupled with a deep shoulder stretch, look no further than the nice stretch that is Gomukhasana — it is such a great pose! This seated yoga posture is a more difficult pose than some other yoga poses, but the general improvements in your hip and shoulder mobility has so many yoga benefits from your Surya Namaskar to inversions. It’s not necessarily everyone’s favorite pose, but if you include it in your daily yoga practice, I promise you will quickly notice improvements.
Full name: PASCHIMOTTANASANA = INTENSE STRETCH OF THE WEST POST Paschima = West* Uttana = Intense stretch Asana = pose (pronunciation: POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)
*West… What? The back of the body is referred to as the west side, and the front of the body is the east side. Legend has it this is because, traditionally, you would practice yoga at the break of day facing the sunrise in the east (think of those Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations), hence the front of the body being the east side. If this is confusing for you, sub out west for ‘back of the body’. Paschimottanasana = intense stretch of the back of the body pose. Or just call it a seated forward fold because that is what it is!
Full name: BHUJANGASANA = COBRA POSE Bhujanga = snake or cobra* Asana = pose (pronunciation: booj-ahn-GAHS-anna)
* The direct Sanskrit translation of bhujanga is snake. However, as cobras are common in India, and the form of bhujangasana is said to look like a cobra with a flared hood, it is translated as cobra for the position in yoga.
One of my favorite ways to learn more about something is to watch a documentary about it. I’m a visual person, so the movie format is my best friend and a great way to study the origins of modern yoga for me, plus it’s MUCH quicker than reading sacred books (I do love me a good yoga book, though). Yoga movies and spiritual movies have been an essential source for teaching me more about this rich tradition and amazing practice, that has become such a central part of my life.
I was innocently scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day when something called Massoga caught my eye… So, admittedly the algorithm knows me well, I’m targeted constantly by ads and accounts for general yoga things from fancy asana to cute leggings, but this was different. This account showed someone lounging over a bolster and propped up by yoga blocks as they had their back and neck tenderly massaged by the teacher (also kitted out in a cute yoga outfit and in a well-lit studio, to be fair). Looked pretty dreamy to me, so what is this glory called Massoga, you ask?
I remember the first time I took a deep dive into the Chakras. It was during my YTT, and my yoga philosophy teacher pulled up a chart of all the chakra colors and meanings, the different symbols of the chakras, and even got out her collection of chakra crystals and stones… and I spent the next hour trying not to roll my eyes or guffaw out loud. The chakras explained all sounded like New Age hippie mumbo jumbo to me.
Self love affirmations are a powerful way to change your inner and outer life… and if that statement (or should I say that self affirmation) makes you feel kinda weird, well, you’re not alone. I do a lot to keep myself fuelled up physically, psychologically, and spiritually — a wholesome vegan diet, a daily yoga practice and a regular meditation practice. But the idea of taking five minutes out of my day to say nice things to myself in front of a mirror used to make me feel cringey-anxious-inauthentic… so I started to ask myself why? And so began my self love journey.
The US has some of the best yoga teachers and the best yoga studios in the world… so it makes sense that it also has some of the best yoga retreats too! Okay, fine, retreats in Europe are pretty incredible too… and let’s not forget Thailand or Costa Rica either. But the time has definitely come for me to share what yoga retreats in USA have to offer. Think East Coast forests, the deserts of Arizona and California, Hawaiian island magic — and lots and lots of yoga.