Gorakshasana or Cowherd Pose How to do and Its Benefits

Apr 21, 2024

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Gorakshasana or Cowherd Pose- A Pose of Tantric Yogis- How to do and its benefits

Gorakshasana is named after the great Yogi Gorakshanath, who used to meditate in this posture. Gorakshasana is an intermediate level seated balancing posture in yoga. It is commonly used for meditation and is believed to have various mental and physical benefits. 

In the following sections of this article, we will delve deeper into the interesting historical story about the Gorakshasana, the step-by-step instructions to practice the pose, variations to suit different levels of expertise, and the wide range of benefits it offers. 

So, let's begin our journey into the Cowherd Pose and discover all that Gorakshasana has to offer.

Historical story of Gorakshasana

The term Gorakshasana derives from the combination of "gow" meaning cow, "raksha" meaning protector, and "asana" meaning pose. This yoga posture is believed to have been named after Yogi Gorakshanath, the founder of the Nath yoga tradition, who practiced meditation in this position. Gorakshanath, also known as Gorakhnath, was an influential yogi and spiritual leader who lived during the 9th and 10th centuries. He played a significant role in popularizing yoga and its various practices.

The Gorakshasana pose is also associated with Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism. Lord Shiva is revered as the lord of cattle and meditation, making Gorakshasana a symbol of protection and spiritual practice. This connection with Lord Shiva further adds to the significance of Gorakshasana in the yoga tradition.

The history of Gorakshasana spans more than a thousand years, with mentions in medieval yoga texts such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gheranda Samhita. 

Gorakshasana is quite special amongst other hatha yoga asanas as it can reverse the process of aging or slow down its process. This is a big claim that it also gets support from ancient scriptures and yogis grounded in traditional practices. 

A person practicing Gorakshasana, also known as Cowherd Pose in a yoga session

In the image above, you can see Yogi Goraksanath in a meditation posture, depicting the deep connection between the Gorakshasana pose and its historical roots.

Gorakshasana - A Tantric Pose Why?

Gorakshasana is a tantric pose because tantric yogis practice Gorakshasa before performing any complex or advanced tantric practice. This is so because the tantra practice requires both the mind and body to be stable. 

To achieve this the body’s mooladhara chakra has to be healthy and balanced. If the muladhara chakra is disturbed, this chakra can be the cause of various mental disturbances like anxiety, fear and anxiety. 

As per the tantra and kundalini yoga, gorakshasana opens the way to the pelvis where mooladhara chakra lies. Gorakshasana can be believed to stimulate the kundalini energy that may lead to a higher awareness as well as spiritual awakening. 

Aso, saint gorakhnath, always practices this gorakshasana while meditating. That's why the tantric guru and the father of the Natha tradition, Goraksha Natha, practiced the asana so with passion, which gave the later adepts a reason to name this posture in honor of him.

 Steps to Practice Gorakshasana

To practice Gorakshasana, follow the steps below:

  1. Sit on the floor in the padmasana or lotus pose.

  2. Stretch your arms forward and place them on the floor.

  3. Raise your trunk and lift your hips off the floor, keeping your trunk straight.

  4. Stand up with your knees still bent and stretch your thighs.

  5. Gradually lift your hands off the floor one by one and maintain the balance of your spine.

  6. Join your hands in a prayer position in front of your chest.

  7. Stay in the pose for as long as you are comfortable.

  8. Lower your hands to the floor and bring your hips back down.

Modifications and Variations of Gorakshasana

For beginners who want to practice Gorakshasana, there are a few modifications and variations that can be helpful in building strength and maintaining balance.

1. Baddha Konasana Modification:

One modification is to keep the feet in baddha konasana, with the heels placed horizontally under the perineum. This variation provides additional support and helps beginners to maintain balance while practicing Gorakshasana.

2. Padmasana Variation with Yoga Blocks:

Another modification involves using yoga blocks placed vertically in front of you to support your feet while maintaining the padmasana position. This helps to ease any discomfort in the knees and ankles and allows practitioners to focus on the balance and alignment of the posture.

3. Advanced Variation: Raised Hands

Once you have mastered the basic Gorakshasana pose and are comfortable with the balance, you can gradually raise your joined hands overhead. This additional stretch helps to elongate the spine and make the pose more advanced.

4. Bhadrasana Variation:

Another variation of Gorakshasana is Bhadrasana, where the feet are joined and the hips are lifted off the ground. In this variation, the hands are placed on the feet for added support and balance.

By exploring these modifications and variations, practitioners can adapt Gorakshasana to their individual needs and gradually progress in their practice. It is important to listen to your body and work within your own capabilities to ensure a safe and effective practice.

Benefits of Gorakshasana

Practicing Gorakshasana offers a wide range of benefits for both the mind and body. Let's explore some of the key advantages of incorporating Gorakshasana into your yoga practice:

  • Improved Balance: By focusing on maintaining the integrity of your body in Gorakshasana, you can enhance your overall balance and stability.

  • Enhanced Tailbone Flexibility: Gorakshasana helps improve the flexibility of your tailbone, contributing to better mobility during activities such as walking, running, and even the defecation process.

  • Strengthened Leg Muscles: The posture of Gorakshasana involves stretching and toning the leg muscles, resulting in increased strength and flexibility.

  • Kundalini Activation: Gorakshasana is believed to activate the kundalini energy, which can lead to a heightened sense of awareness and spiritual awakening.

  • Stimulated Sexual Energy: With regular practice, Gorakshasana can help stimulate sexual energy and improve reproductive function.

  • Improved Digestion: This pose enhances blood flow to the lower abdomen, supporting healthy digestion and providing therapeutic benefits for digestive disorders.

  • Mental Clarity and Concentration: Gorakshasana can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve mental clarity, leading to increased focus and concentration.

As you can see, Gorakshasana offers a comprehensive array of benefits, ranging from physical to mental and spiritual. Including this pose in your yoga practice can contribute to your overall well-being and help you achieve a balanced and harmonious state of being.

Also Read : What Is Sound Healing? How It Works, Benefits & Frequencies


Gorakshasana, also known as the Cowherd Pose, is an intermediate level yoga posture that offers numerous benefits for the mind and body. By regularly practicing Gorakshasana, individuals can improve their balance, enhance flexibility, strengthen their leg muscles, activate the kundalini energy, stimulate their sexual energy, support healthy digestion, and experience a sense of calmness and increased concentration.

The practice of Gorakshasana helps individuals improve their balance by focusing on maintaining the integrity of their body. It also enhances tailbone flexibility, which contributes to better mobility while walking, running, and during the defecation process. Additionally, the posture strengthens the leg muscles by stretching and toning them, leading to improved stability and support.

Incorporating Gorakshasana into a regular yoga practice can have a significant impact on overall mind-body wellness. The pose not only provides physical benefits but also helps calm the mind, improve concentration, and enhance the practitioner's sense of self-awareness and mindfulness. By harnessing the power of Gorakshasana, individuals can cultivate a harmonious connection between their body and mind, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Gorakshasana is a tantric yogic pose which is also known as the “Cowherd Pose”, in English language. It is a type of hatha yoga that is an intermediate level seated balancing posture in the yoga world.

Practicing Gorakshasana can improve posture, enhance flexibility in the lower legs and feet, and benefit the spine and lower back. It also helps activate the kundalini energy, stimulates sexual energy, supports digestion, and promotes a sense of calmness and increased concentration.

Beginners can modify Gorakshasana by keeping their feet in baddha konasana or using yoga blocks for support. Advanced variations include raising the joined hands overhead to stretch the spine and practicing Bhadrasana, where the feet are joined and the hips are lifted off the ground.

The name Gorakshasana is derived from the Sanskrit words "go" meaning cow, "raksha" meaning protector, and "asana" meaning pose. It is believed to be named after Yogi Goraksanath, the founder of the Nath yoga tradition, who meditated in this posture.

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