master the basics: Gomukhasana arms

master the basics: Gomukhasana arms

You can hardly find a more multi-tasking pose for the shoulders and arms than the arms of Gomukhasana. It puts them through so many actions: internal rotation of the lower arm, external rotation of the upper one, adduction of the lower shoulder blade, abduction of the upper, slight extension of the lower arm, flexion of the upper. If you practiced this pose and this pose alone on a consistent basis, the range of motion in your shoulders would improve dramatically and maintain so for the life of your practice.

When I do this pose on a daily or every-other-day basis, it balances out the habitual patterns of keyboarding, mousing, cutting vegetables, holding the steering wheel, you name it – all the things that tend to kink my neck and shoulders.

When you’re practicing this pose, put you mind in your shoulder blades and focus on moving them, rather than just your arms, to go deeper into the pose. Remember, all action of the arms originates with the shoulder blades. Increasing the movement in the shoulder blades makes for muscles that can contract and extend fully – the sign of a healthy muscle.


When you move the upper shoulder blade away from the spine and up, you’re stretching the rhomboids and mid-traps while contracting serratus anterior. When you move the lower shoulder blade towards the spine and down, you’re contracting the rhomboids and mid-traps. Practice moving your shoulder blades instead of just your arms.


Letitia Walker
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