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Eagle Yoga Pose – Garudasana

downward-facing-dog-pose

Garudasana

[gah-rue-DAHS-anna]

In many cultures and religions, the eagle is associated with their most important gods. Odin, the supreme god of Scandinavian mythology changes to a falcon to travel to the earth. The eagle is also Zeus’s bird and bears thunderbolts and lightning. Like Zeus himself, the eagle is a symbol of justice, resilience, and bravery. For the Incas, the eagle is a solar symbol and a guardian spirit. For Thailand and Indonesia, he is the national symbol. A large, mythical eagle also appears in Buddhist and Hindu mythology.

For the Native Americans of the Plains, the eagle is an incarnation of the great Thunderbird spirit. The Thunderbird could draw in clouds, create thunder, and conjure up rain through the powerful beat of its wings. Merely blinking his eyes creates bolts of lightning.

Benefits of Eagle Pose

  • The Bandhas create space in the abdominal cavity for digestive health.
  • The lifting of the chest expands the intercostal area and allows for healthier breathing patterns.
  • Stretches and opens the shoulder and hip joints.
  • Massages the abdominal and pelvic organs (such as the ovaries and testes).

Contraindications

  • Modifications might be necessary for those who suffer from leg, knee, ankle, or foot pain.
  • Vertigo or other balance issues.
  • Hip/sacroiliac discomfort or pain.

Step-by-Step

  • Stand with your toes touching and your heels half an inch apart.
  • Bend both your knees, bringing your torso forward, hinging from the hips with the spine long.
  • Shift your weight to your left foot and bring your right leg out to the side, extending the ankle.
  • Stay sitting down as much as possible on your left (supporting) leg. Bring your right leg up and over your left thigh. Hook the right ankle just behind the left ankle or calf (of the supporting leg) . Squeeze the legs together.
  • Reach your arms wide out to the sides like an eagle in flight.
  • Cross the right arm underneath the left just above the elbow, continuing to cross and twist until the arms are interlaced and the palms pressed together.
  • Try to sense the centerline of your body and rotate your knees and elbows into a position so that they are in one line in front of your body, facing forward.
  • Keep your pelvis stable and neutral.
  • Gaze steadily off into the horizon with the penetrating insight of an eagle.
  • Lengthen the back of the neck, aligning the nose with your bellybutton and bringing your chin parallel to the earth. Draw up the sides of the neck in order to align your head with your torso.
  • Unwind your legs and arms and come back into mountain pose.

Preparatory Poses

Counter Poses

DD-Laura-Variation