This pose has been a long time favorite of mine although I don't teach it often in class because even though it
might seem simple in it structure it requires a tremendous amount of flexibility in the hips to do in way that doesn’t throw your weight to one side and in which you can actually experience the intended opening in the outer hip. If supported properly the benefits of the pose are endless and the pose can be done in an active way including the arms or a more restorative or yin approach in which you work to melt and release rounding over your crossed legs. Translated this pose means cow face and the cross of the legs and position of the arms looks likes a cows mouth and ears.
Stretches your hips, thighs, ankles and chest, shoulders, anterior deltoids, triceps, inner armpits and lats.
It is a forward fold so it induces a state of relaxation
Stimulates the kidneys.
Helpful in relieving ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure
Can help correct issues with sexual malfunction
Great pose to create space in the sacrum area and a good prep or counter pose for back bending
Props that are helpful to come into this pose are a blanket, blocks and a strap
Start on your hands and knees in table position and cross your right knee behind your left leg and place it to the outside of your left knee. Separate your feet wider then your hips and slowly start to sit back working to bring your seat between your feet. You can place a block under both sit bones to help lift the ground up to you and if that is still hard and your weight is tilting to the side then straighten your left leg and sit on block with right leg crossed over left leg knee to knee. A variation of this pose can also be done sitting on your left foot but may be more pressure on your knee.
The arms in this pose add not only a challenge in your shoulders but require you to use more of your core to keep your weight centered and work to fold forward. With the right leg on top internally rotate your right arm and bring it up your back and btw your shoulders then reach your left arm up towards the ceiling and externally rotate your arm and reach to grab your right finger tips. This is shoulder opening is challenging for most, so a strap may be required to help with clasping hands. Work to fold forward over legs working brining your chest toward thighs and head towards the floor.
Take at least 10 breaths holding and work to relax into the pose with each exhale.