Eagle pose is a standing balance pose that, among other things, strengthens your legs. You will find out all the benefits of this pose for your body while reading this article.
The name of the pose comes from the Sanskrit word “Garuda” which means eagle. The eagle, as you know, is the king of birds which could be said for this pose when we talk about standing balances.
A DEEPER INSIGHT
In Hindu mythology, Garuda is believed to be a half-man, half-bird. Garuda was the vehicle (vahana) for Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was delighted with the power that Garuda possessed and offered him a blessing; in return, he asked Garuda to be his vehicle.
Practicing this pose activates your sacral chakra (Swadisthana chakra) and root chakra (Muladhara chakra).
The elements that are associated with this asana are water and earth.
PRACTICE AND VARIATIONS
Practicing this pose itself involves a lot of twisting, so the practitioner is expected to have a well-developed shoulder and hip flexibility.
If you currently do not have a well-developed internal rotation of your shoulders and hips, we recommend that you focus your practice on poses that focus on external rotation before practicing this pose. By regularly practicing these poses, you will achieve the necessary range of motion, thanks to which you will be able to do the eagle pose.
When it comes to poses that concern your hips and their opening, we definitely recommend the following asanas: Vakrasana (twisted pose), Supta Parivrtta Garudasana (reclining eagle spinal twist pose), Eka Pada Tadasana (one-legged mountain pose), Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose), and Gomukhasana – only the lower position concerning the hips (cow face pose).
As for your shoulders, we advise you to perform Tadasana Paschima Namaskarasana (standing reverse prayer pose), Gomukhasana – only the upper pose that concerns the shoulders, Sukhasana Deltoids Stretch (sitting deltoids stretch), and Eagle Arms – only the position for the arms (you can sit in lotus or half lotus while performing this posture).
When talking about the practice of this pose, we advise you to practice it by sitting on a chair if you do not yet have a well-developed sense of balance; it is the first variation of this pose.
Sit on a chair with a straight spine. If your right leg is flat and your right foot is on the yoga mat, make sure that your right knee is above the ankle joint of your right foot.
Cross your left leg over your right thigh and, if you are able, make contact with the calf of your right leg with the outer joint of your left foot. This position also implies a certain level of rotation of your hips (left hip). It is not a complete position, but it is certainly challenging if you do not yet have a well-developed rotation of your hips.
After this lower position, bend your right arm at the elbow in front of your face at shoulder level; the right elbow should be at the level of the right shoulder. Do not allow your right elbow to drop down toward your chest. After this position, bring your left hand under your right and bend it at the elbow.
Both palms are turned toward your face for a moment. Try rotating your left palm towards your right palm. If you succeed in that, interlace your fingers.
This is a seated variation of this pose. If you are able to, try to stay in the pose for a maximum of ten inhalations and exhalations. After that, repeat the same for the opposite side with your left leg as your landing leg.
In case you still do not have a good rotation of your hips, practice only the upper body position, that is, the position in which you interlace your arms. To get a better rotation of your hips, practice the asanas that we mentioned earlier.
If you have a good hip rotation but do not currently have a good sense of balance, you can use the block as a support for the foot of the rotating leg. If your right foot is flat, place the block on the outside of your right foot so that when you cross your left foot over your right, you will be able to rest the toes of your left foot on the block.
A full eagle pose means that the foot of your twisting leg is on the inside of your landing leg. In this way, rest the inner part of your twisting foot on the inside of the calf of your landing leg. The most demanding eagle pose is also the full pose, which implies that after intertwining your legs and arms, you gently lower your upper body down.
Don’t forget that if you’re doing a full pose, you cross your legs first, then your arms.
After practicing this pose, we advise you to do asanas that will relax your body after the eagle pose. These asanas are Malasana (garland pose), Urdhva Hastotanasana (palm tree pose), and Uttanasana (standing forward fold pose).
BENEFITS FROM GARUDASANA
By practicing this pose, you strengthen the muscles of your legs and improve the circulation in your legs.
Considering that it is a twisting pose, you achieve detoxification of your body, primarily of your kidneys, through the practice of this pose.
Your ankles, knees, hips, wrists, shoulders, and shoulder blades will thank you in a big way. Thanks to this pose, you will influence their opening and improve their flexibility and rotation.
The eagle pose improves your sense of balance and it also improves your concentration and focus.
If you recently had a surgery involving your ankles, knees, hips, wrists, shoulders, or elbows, please do not practice eagle pose at this time. Allow your body to fully recover.
One small tip: the more you bend the landing leg at the knee, the easier it will be for you to stay in the same pose since your center of gravity is closer to the ground. In this way, you will achieve a more stable position. To be able to do this, you must have a well-developed flexibility and hip rotation.
Breathe completely in three layers when entering and staying in the pose. Become aware of your stomach breathing; try to make each inhalation and exhalation uniform; don’t tense up; relax your whole face above all.
If there is any kind of twitching of your face, it will affect your entire body on a micro level which will definitely challenge you to stay in this pose. That is why we remind you to enter the eagle pose with complete awareness and with a smile on your face.
Do not start practicing this pose if you are not completely sure that your body is ready for it, since it is a very challenging and demanding one for your hips and shoulders.