If you are aiming to improve your balance, while bestowing your back and legs an additional dose of strength and stretch, then Garudasana is the right pose for you. Garuda is the Sanskrit word for Eagle and hence the name Eagle pose. The way you twist your legs and arms , at the same time focus on your breath bestows you with a fabulous level of balance, while pepping up the brain. Make sure you are indulging in deep breaths so that you can hold the posture for a longer period of time.
This is one of basic standing and balancing poses, but those who have shoulder, back, knee, and neck injuries can refrain from doing this due to the twist it brings. Read on to know how to get into Eagle Pose the right way.
1. Practicing Garudasana Step By Step
- Stand straight on the yoga mat, spine, neck, and head erect. Keep the feet slightly separated while hands rest your sides, palms facing the thighs.
- Inhale and lift your hands at shoulder level, in front of you, fingertips pointing to the ceiling. Keep the shoulders and arms relaxed.
- Cross your right arm over the left allowing your elbows to stack atop each other.
- Bend the elbows and wrap the forearms, allowing the palms to come face to face. Keep the fingertips pointed to the ceiling. Let the palms rest against the forearm if you are not able to join the palms.
- Bend the knees a little and balance yourself on the right leg.
- Cross the left leg over your right leg, above your right knee.
- Place the left foot behind the ankle of your right leg, hooking it there. If you are not able to twist the leg, you can place your left leg next to the foot of your right leg, toes resting on the floor, by just crossing it over the right leg.
- Keeping the crow towards the ceiling and spine erect, focus your gaze onto a point right in front of you.
- Hold the pose for 5 deep breaths.
- To exit the position, place your foot next to the right, release your twisted hands and come back to standing position.
- Repeat the posture with the other side also.
[ Read: How Yoga Heals ]
Modifications and variations
If you are not able to twist your forearms, then keep the hands lifted up at chest level, palms joined in Namaskar mudra. Wrapping the hands fully might take some time and intense practice.
If you are not able to hook the top foot behind the calf or ankle of the balancing leg, allow the big toe of the lifted foot to rest on the floor so that you can balance.
Place a yoga block behind your leg and place the lift footed on it to rest and balance.
Deepening the Pose
Fix your gaze on the tips of the thumb after you get into the posture completely. Inhale and as you exhale, squat down more, deepening the stretch.
[ Read: How To Do Padangusthasana ]
It is quite a little tough for beginners as stabilizing in this pose is a challenge. Use a wall to support your torso while you learn to balance.
If you find you are hurting the shoulders or arms, join the palms in Namaskar mudra without twisting the forearm.
The pose is known to be therapeutic for some of the health conditions as mentioned below:
Health Benefits of practicing Garudasana
Regular practice of Eagle pose is known to bestow you with the following gifts:
- Stronger and more flexible hips, thighs, and ankles
- Toned hips and thighs
- Loosens shoulders and wrists and strengthens them
- Eases the tightness experienced across the sacrum
- Corrects posture issues
- Improves your balance
- Eases back pain
- Improves self confidence and self esteem levels
- Good for menstrual issues
[ Read: How To Do Supta Virasana ]
Contraindications of Garudasana
Stay away from this pose if you have knee or ankle injuries. People with stiff neck and shoulders should refrain from twisting their forearms. Hypertension is contraindicated.
Poses To Do Before Garudasana
Here are few poses that you can practice before getting into Garudasana:
- Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing dog pose
- Gomukhasana – Cow face pose
- Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide legged forward bend pose
- Supta Virasana – Reclining hero pose
- Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclining bound angle pose
- Upavistha Konasana – Seated angle pose
- Virasana – Hero pose
- Vrikshasana – Tree pose
[ Read: How To Improve At Bikram Yoga Poses ]
Garudasana As Preparatory Pose
You can use Eagle pose as the preparatory pose for Utakatasana, Gomukhasana, Natarajasana, and Vrikshasana.
Start slowly and keep practicing to master the pose.