Eagle
GARUDĀSANA (गरुडासन)
(gah-roo-DAH-sah-nah)

 


‘Garuda’= eagle, King of Birds, fierce bird of prey, or devourer, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Garuda’s Pose

Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: Standing / Balance / Stretch / Hip Opener

Drsti
• Straight ahead – Eye level

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your legs slightly apart (about hip distance), keeping the back straight, shoulders and arms down, and palms facing forward.
2. Bring your arms to chest level in front of you and bend your elbows. Point your fingers straight up to the sky, palms facing each other. In this position, cross and stretch the left arm to the right side of your body and cross your right arm under your left elbow. Wrap back to join the palms (as much as possible), squeezing your arms together, and lifting your chest. Keep your fingers pointed straight up. Make sure to relax your shoulders away from the ears and draw the shoulder blades together.
3. Slightly bend your knees, sitting back into your hips and activating the inner thighs. Shift your weight to your left leg and spread your toes to root your foot into the mat.
4. Balance on your left leg and cross your right leg over the left knee. Then tuck your right foot behind your left shin to hook around your ankle. Hug your legs together for balance.
5. Keep your back straight and your hips squared forward by drawing in the navel and lengthening up through the spine.
6. Gaze forward.
7. Focus on engaging the core to keep the back straight and the hips aligned, squeezing the legs and arms together for balance. Your elbows, knees, and hands should line up with the center of the body. The supporting knee should not be too far over the toes, as the weight should be toward the heels.
8. Sink into the hips and breathe.
9. Hold this pose for several breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Shoulders raised to ears
• Chest collapsing in / Overarching the back
• Unbalanced or toes not spread wide / Foot moving around
• Hips pushed forward / Tailbone not dropped
• Knee of supporting leg too far over toes
• Shoulders, arms, and thighs out of line
• Twisting the knees, ankles, and/or feet
• Looking down or up instead of straight forward

Modifications
• For beginners, have the student practice with their back up against the wall for support.
• For students who need to practice balance and strength, have them start with Chair Pose (Utkatasana).
• Students with ankle, hip, and/or knee injury or inflammation should not practice the full pose. Have these students practice by either: a) standing with just eagle arms, b) seated on a chair or fitness ball with Eagle arms, or c) practice Half Eagle (Ardha Garudasana).
• For students with tight calf muscles or hamstrings, knee discomfort, and/or have trouble balancing, have them rest their big toe or ball of the foot on the floor or a block next to the standing leg, instead of hooking the foot around the calf or ankle.
• Students with injury or inflammation in the wrists, shoulders, and/or elbows can practice this pose with just the legs wrapped and their hands in Prayer Mudra over the heart center. Alternatively, they can focus on pressing the forearms together or they can reach the top arm across the chest to the opposite shoulder and use the bottom hand or forearm to draw the arm across the chest.
• Students who have difficulty reaching their palms together can hold a strap between the hands.
• For advanced students, they can bend the knees deeply and sink the tailbone, trying to bring the thighs as parallel to the floor as possible. Alternatively, they can bend forward at the hips to bring the elbows to the top of the knee with the torso parallel to the ground.

Counter Poses
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Forward Bend, Standing (Uttanasana)
• Half Forward Bend, Standing (Ardha Uttanasana)
• Mountain (Tadasana)
• Cow Face (Gomukhasana)
• Tree (Vrksasana)
• Corpse (Savasana)

Anatomy
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Biceps and Triceps• Upper (Cervical), Middle (Thoracic) and Lower (Lumbar) Back
• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques• Hips (Psoas Major and Iliopsoas)
• Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes)• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Knees• Ankles and Feet

Benefits
• Enhances focus, concentration and willpower, improves balance, and boosts energy.
• Stretches and strengthens the shoulders, upper back, biceps, triceps, hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, knees, calf muscles, and ankles which improves flexibility.
• Opens joints throughout the body in the wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles as well as opens the shoulders, chest, back, and hips.
• Circulates the blood and flushes out the kidneys as well as improves digestion.
• Stimulates the thyroid gland and pituitary gland.
• Increases stamina and creates grace and poise.
• Improves posture and alignment.
• Therapeutic for students with asthma, sciatica, and low back pain.

Contraindications
1. Avoid this pose if you have any knee, ankle, and/or wrist injury. If a student wants to complete this pose, it should be done with props, modifications, and guidance.
2. Avoid this pose if you have a hip or knee replacement. If a student wants to complete this pose, it should be done with props, modifications, and guidance.
3. Pregnant students, in the third trimester or later, should avoid this pose
4. Students need flexibility, strong legs and a strong back to properly balance in this pose.

Bandha
• Mula Bandha

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In “Yoga Anatomy – Second Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthew textbook.
    • CHAPTER 6 – STANDING POSES, this asana can be found as “Garudasana – Eagle Pose“.

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