Friday, January 18, 2013

Hey Youthful Yogis!   
I was drinking a glass of milk today and, guess what? I got to thinking about cows!

Cows, as you know, are pretty great. They are peaceful vegetarians who have been providing us with nourishment for centuries. And here's an interesting India, cows are considered to be sacred. That's right! They symbolize the earth and are much appreciated for their gentle nature. Throughout history, cows have provided the Indian people with an important food source (milk, butter and curds) and have also been used to till the fields. Cow dung is a source of fuel and a fertilizer for crops as well...and I did not just make that up!

There are 26 breeds of cow in India, and in many cities cows are allowed to roam happily in the streets:

"Beep, beep!"
"I call this my "happy place"

Youthful Yogis will remember that in Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna is said to have been born into a family of cowherds...that's why we often see pictures of Krishna with cows and a flute:

Lord Krishna

And speaking of of the most powerful gods in Hindu mythology is Shiva, said to be the responsible for death and destruction, which in turn leads to creation and rebirth.

Lord Shiva's style is hard to beat...check it out:

"Honestly, I just threw this little outfit together at the last minute...!"

Here is a list of Lord Shiva's "attributes" (objects associated with or belonging to him.)  Can you find  these attributes in the picture above?
* a Trident
*a crescent moon
* a "third eye"
* a tiger skin
*some serpents
*a drum
*Nandi, the bull


Who doesn't love Nandi?!! He is considered to be the "vehicle" or "mount" of Shiva, meaning that the two are often seen together:

"I'm loving my ride...and don't even get me started on my tiger skin cape!" 

There is a town in South India called Mahabalipuram; it's  known for it's sculptures and temples carved out of rock.

 If you ever make it to Mahabalipuram, here are some amazing things that you might see:

"Krishna's Butterball" (I did not make that name up!)

Shore Temple, carved from stone

Nandi, larger than life!

I really hope to get back to Mahabalipuram someday to say hello to that larger than life Nandi...but in the meantime, it's time for a new yoga pose!  Can you guess what it's called?...."Cow Face Pose", of course!!

Cow Face pose, known as Gomukhasana in Sanskrit, is pretty tricky. If you do what we call the "traditional" version of the pose, your legs will look like this:

"OK, I admit it...I want to scream!"

For some people, sitting in either "easy pose", or "Hero pose" is better:

"easy pose"


Once you have found a comfortable seated position, you can try bringing your arms into place for the full "Cow Face" experience!

Not everyone can get their arms far enough back to hook their fingers, like the guy up above. In fact, most of us are a little tight in the shoulders, and lots of people are actually dealing with past injuries in this part of the body. So please move into this pose carefully, Youthful Yogis; keep your spine "long" (OK, what I really mean is...don't slouch!!) Relax your face and have fun. If your fingers don't touch behind your back, you can use a strap:

...or simply press the hands gently into your body so you get a great opening stretch. Cow Face pose is definitely a super stretch for the shoulders as well as for the upper back and chest. It also creates space for the lungs, so we can breathe more deeply...

This is what I'm talking about, People!

Have fun trying out Cow Face pose, Youthful Yogis. And, if you are like just about everybody else I know, one burning question will come to mind while you are doing the pose....Why Do They Call It Cow Face Pose???

"Why? Why? Why?!"

I'll share with you what I've figured out, Youthful Yogis...and feel free to tell me if you have another idea on the subject.

Here is Cow Face pose again:

"Everyone keeps telling me I need to put some meat on my bones!"

And here is a cow's face:

Now, take a look at this:

"OK, I am upside down...but try to ignore that and look at the shape my legs make." 

Get it? When we sit in Cow Face pose, our knees and thighs look like the face of a cow, and our shins look like the horns. Some people have a different take on this...they think the crossed legs look like a cow's face and the arms look like ears or horns.

...and did I mention you can also do a version of Cow Face pose on your back:

I hope that you will have fun experimenting with Gomukhasana, Youthful Yogis. As you practice the pose, try reflecting upon the gentle nature of cows all around the world: see if you can open to new possibilities as you stretch, release and breath.

And just in case all of this cow-talk hasn't inspired you on the word "MOO!" below to connect with a site that will definitely help you to channel your inner cow!  It's on YouTube, so ask an adult to make sure that's OK.


It's time for me to grab another glass of milk and get on with my day, Youthful Yogis. Have a great week and I'll see you again soon!


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