Eagle Pose

News 24 December 2012

What are the benefits and how do you do it?

Background:

Garudasana/Garurasana or Eagle Pose is derived from the Sanskrit word “Garuda”, which means “eagle”. In Hindu mythology the eagle is considered the king of the birds. Among other things, this posture improves your balance, helps strenghtening your legs and helps increase flexibility in the major joints of your body. All essential elements to improve your overall health in body and mind.

If this posture makes you a little dizzy, don’t be alarmed. This is the tourniquet effect for your entire body and is a super charge of circulation to every cell. Remember if your thighs are burning, you are doing the posture the right way!

Garud = eagle, bird Asana = houding

The posture:

Eagle Pose

Step 1: Stand straight up with your feet together and your arms along side your body.

In this pose, the arms and legs wrap around each other like ropes.

Step 2: Bring your arms over your head sideways and (on the first side) swing your right arm underneath your left arm, cross at the elbows and at the wrists.

Step 3: Press palms together, thumbs should face the nose, and the elbows drag down towards the floor. As the shoulders open up, this becomes easier.

Next, the legs.

Step 4: The knees need to bend deeply, so the right leg can sweep high up and over the left leg. Cross at the knees, then wrap at the ankles too, with the big toe eventually hooking around the ankle of the left leg.

Step 5: From here, bend the knees more to lower the hips and sit deeper. Arch the upper body back, lean back. keep the elbows drawing down towards the knees.

Step 6: Fine tune your alignment, by squaring your hips to the front mirror, moving your knees to the right and the elbows to the left. Ideally, lign up the elbows directly above the knees, so the wrists, elbows, knees and ankle joints all stack in one line through the center line of the body.

Step 7: Bring your weight on your left heel. Eventually your left knee comes exactly on top of the left ankle (instead of more forward towards the mirror).

Benefits:

  • Warms up/ opens up the 14 major joints in the skeletal system - ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, shouders, shoulderblades;
  • Brings fresh blood to the sexual organs and kidneys. This increases sexual vitality and helps clear up reproductive problems;
  • Firms calves, thighs, hips, abdomen and upper arms;
  • Strenghtens the upper body - back muscles, shoulder muscles and upper arm muscles;
  • Improves balance;
  • Relieves tension in neck and shouders;
  • Helps reduce varicose veins.

5 Tips to improve your Eagle pose:

  1. Focus on one spot in front of you. If you look at the floor, it is much harder to balance. Also looking down tends to round your spine. You need to arch your spine (like a backbend).
  2. Keep the weight on the heel of the standing foot as much as possible. It helps if you stick your buttocks back as far as possible (like your going to sit on a chair that is to far behind you).
  3. Keep your chest lifted at all times (this helps to keep the spine arched). Even when you set up the posture (when you bend both your knees); instead of hunching over the knees (effectively rounding the spine), keep your chest up (away from the thighs and knees).
  4. Keep your standing leg bent at all times. Instead of coming up (ever so slightly) when you lift the other leg up, practice keeping the standing leg bent as much as in the set up if not more.
  5. Keep pulling your elbows down, while still lifting the chest. This helps in opening up the shoulder joints.