Eagle pose

Garudasana

Categories:
Balance, Strength, Hip opener, Shoulder opener

The eagle pose stretches and strengthens the ankles, legs, shoulders and upper back. It also improves balance and concentration.

Step by step explanation

The eagle pose can be done by

  1. Start standing tall and arms relaxed alongside the body.
  2. Bend the knees slightly and bring your right leg on top of your left leg. Bend the knees a little further and start to wrap your right leg around the left leg. Hug the inner thighs towards each other and, if you feel stable, wrap your right foot behind the left calf. If this does not feel possible keep your right big toe grounding into the floor.
  3. Now extend the arms out to the sides and bring your left elbow on top of your right elbow. Bend the elbows and point the forearms upwards. Wrap the arms and hands together so that both palms of the hands are facing each other.
  4. It does not matter so much whether the palms of your hands are touching each other or if your fingertips touch the hand palms. It is more important that you stay balanced and focused, as you hold this position and keep breathing steadily.
  5. If you have space, start to lift your elbows up to the same height as your shoulders and reach your hands away from your face.
  6. Stay here for at least five breaths, keeping your gaze looking softly forward.
  7. When you are ready, you can release the position by unwrapping the arms and legs and come back to the same standing position in which you started. From here move to the opposite side.
  8. Bend the knees again slightly and bring your left leg on top of your right leg. Bend the knees a little further and start to wrap your left leg around the right leg. Hug the inner thighs towards each other and, if you feel stable, wrap your left foot behind the right calf. If this doesn’t feel possible keep your left big toe grounding into the floor.
  9. Now extend the arms out to the sides and bring your right elbow on top of your left elbow. Bend the elbows and point the forearms upwards. Wrap the arms and hands together so that both palms of the hands are facing each other.
  10. If you have space, start to lift your elbows up to the same height as your shoulders and reach your hands away from your face.
  11. Stay here for at least five breaths, keeping your gaze looking softly forward.
  12. When you are ready you can release the position by unwrapping the arms and legs and come back to the same standing position in which you started.

Cautions

Read the following cautions to stay safe

  • This position requires a lot of your balance, so avoid this pose if you are experiencing things like headaches, low blood pressure or dizziness.
  • Do not perform this pose when you are in late-term pregnancy.
  • Do not wrap the arms in this position when you are experiencing a shoulder injury.
  • If you are concerned about anything of this pose, please contact your physician on whether this practice is good for you.

Making the pose easier

  • If you cannot find the balance yet, you can make it easier by not fully crossing the legs, but instead place the big toe of the top crossing leg on the floor.
  • If you are having difficulties with the wrapping of the arms and hands, instead of trying to face the hand palms towards each other, you can let the back of the other hands face each other. This way it will be easier on your shoulder.
  • You could also try, first practicing the crossing of the arms and legs separately and then ultimately trying both at the same time.
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Suggested preparation poses

Suggested follow-up poses