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Garudasana or Eagle Pose

garudasana
English Name(s)
Eagle Pose
Sanskrit
गरुड़ासन / Garudasana
Pronunciation
Gar-uda – asa-na
Meaning
Garuda: Eagle
Asana: Pose

Garudasana at a Glance

The Garudasana is also known as the Eagle Pose. This is a Balancing posture (body weight) on one leg, which improves flexibility and strength and increases your mental focus. This is a good Hip opener that strengthens and stretches the ankle, calf, shoulder, hips, thigh, and upper back.

Benefits:

  • It stretches and strengthens the shoulders, upper back, ankles, and calf muscles.
  • This asana improves your core strength.
  • Stimulates the blood circulation towards the reproductive system and helps better function.
  • It develops balance and stability and improves focus and concentration.
  • It is helpful during the menstrual cycle and for PCOD problems.

Who can do it?

Beginners with normal health can do it. People of intermediate and advanced level practitioners can do it. People looking to improve their strength and balance and who want to improve their focus and concentration can do this asana regularly.

Who should not do it?

Pregnant women should avoid doing it. People with weak knees, wrists, or ankles should avoid it. Any recent injuries and surgery should be avoided. People with asthma, high blood pressure, or low blood pressure. People with severe headaches should avoid or consult their healthcare professional for guidance.

How to Do Garudasana?
Follow the Step-by-Step Procedure

Garuda means “Eagle” and it is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Most importantly, Garuda (Eagle) is known for its strength, power, balance, and sharpness (focus and concentration). Practicing Garudasana can help you to achieve those qualities and keep improving.

  1. Looking at the Garudasana may seem simple, but when you do it yourself, you can feel the power in your whole body.
  2. Stand Straight in the Tadasana pose (Feet hip width apart), keep your hand, take a few deep breaths, and relax.
  3. Bend your left leg (left knee), Inhale and lift your right leg (right foot) off the floor, and wrap around your left leg – the right leg (right knee joint) should be over the left thigh and above the left knee. The backside of your right thigh should be on the front of the left thigh.
  4. Your right foot should be at the back of the left calf, and your right shin will touch your left calf (left leg).
  5. The big toe of your right leg will be on the left ankle (inside).
  6. You can feel that you have locked the right leg around the left leg.
  7. In this position, the left foot (left leg) is grounded on the floor.
  8. Now, Breathe out and concentrate on your balance and stability.
  9. Extend your arm to the sides, bring both arms in front, and slightly bend the left arm (left elbow).
  10. Exhale and now cross your right upper arm on the left arm, your right elbows touching the inner side of the left elbow, and wrap around each other.
  11. When you wrap your arms around, your palms will meet each other (your right palm will be taller, and your left will be a little lower). Your right arm fingers will be pointing at the sky, and your left fingers upwards, but will stay on the inner side of the right palm.
  12. You can be in this position for 5 to 6 breath count or according to your comfort. Keep your core engaged in this position.
  13. Inhale deeply and gently throughout the pose.
  14. Keep your knees bent to be more stable, and look forward and focus on a particular point to be balanced.
  15. Inhale and return to the Mountain pose, but slowly release your arms and legs.
  16. Be in the Mountain pose, take some deep breaths and do it similarly with your other leg (left leg).
  17. Listen to your body; leave the pose and relax if you feel discomfort.

What are the Benefits of Garudasana?

  • It helps to stretch your hips, shoulders, thighs, arms, and upper back.
  • The wrap around the leg and the arms open the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hips, and knee joints, helps with better joint mobility, and s.
  • It stretches the hamstring muscles and quadriceps, which brings flexibility and strengthens the calves, ankles, and other parts of your body, which helps with smooth day-to-day activities and also helps other advanced yoga poses.
  • As this pose involves your legs, your leg muscles are strengthened and toned.
  • Garudasana is based on balance on one leg, so while you include this in your regular exercise regime, it adds to better balance and stability for your physical and mental body.
  • To maintain balance and stability, you must increase focus and concentration. Garudasna will increase the level of sharpness of your mental state, which is helpful in your everyday life.
  • This pose helps to compress some blood vessels. When you wrap your arms and legs and release the pose, the blood flows back and increases blood circulation.
  • This pose puts pressure on your abdominal muscles, which helps in digestion.
  • Focusing on your pose and maintaining balance and stability with the flow of breath calms your mind and reduces stress and anxiety.
  • This pose also helps increase self-awareness of your physical and mental state.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from the Eagle Pose

  • This pose can help relieve sciatica and rheumatism pain in the legs.
  • People with – PCOD/menstrual, urinary, kidney, and prostrate-related problems can do this pose regularly (consult your health care professional).
  • As this yoga asana is a twist, it helps to detoxify your body. It flushes out your kidneys and circulates blood to your reproductive system.
  • This can be helpful for people with mild digestive issues and regulate their digestion process.

Safety and Precautions

  • Avoid this asana if you have knee, elbow, wrist, or shoulder injuries.
  • If you can’t balance properly, practice with the support of the wall.
  • Consult your health care professional before doing this pose for any medical conditions.
  • People who are obese should do this with the support of the wall and under the guidance of a trained yoga teacher.
  • People with headaches can consult their doctor before doing this asana.
  • Breath is very important, so keep breathing throughout the pose
  • Warm-up is important for any yoga pose. Do warm-up exercises for your legs, arms, hips, shoulders, and wrists to avoid harming your body parts.
  • Alignment is important to avoid any stain or injury to your body.

Common Mistakes

  • Alignment is the base for the Garudasana yoga pose.
  • Your back should be straight and don’t hunch it.
  • If you are a beginner, practice yoga under the guidance of a professional yoga trainer.
  • Avoiding warm-ups could be risky.
  • Forcing the twist of arms and legs
  • Not engaging your core can cause you to lose your balance and stability.
  • Don’t try to force yourself into the pose all of a sudden. Take it gradually.

Tips for Garudasana

  • Warm up your ankles and wrists before getting into the Eagle pose and you can also do the preparatory poses like the cow face pose.
  • Garland can be done as the cooling down pose.
  • Fixing a point to gaze at will improve your balance and stability. 
  • In this pose, you can wrap your arms first or legs, whichever you feel is comfortable, but do it gradually.
  • If you are not able to balance, take the support of the wall or chair.
  • Breathe in and breathe out throughout the pose; don’t hold your breath.
  • If you feel discomfort, leave the Eagle pose and relax.
  • The floor should be slightly bent and the feet grounded.  

Physical Alignment Principles for the Garudasana

  • Start from the Tadasana pose or with Utkatasana with both legs bent, take a deep and gentle breath, and stand with your feet hip-width apart to create a strong base.
  • Shift the balance onto the leg, which will be on the floor.
  • Lift the leg that has to be wrapped around and cross it over the balanced leg from the front.
  • Slightly bend the leg that is grounded on the floor.
  • The top of the foot (toes) (lifted foot) should be hooked around the calf of the standing leg.
  • The knee joint should be on the thigh of the standing leg.
  • Bring your arms to the level of the shoulder height. Bend both your elbows pointing down and wrap one arm over the other.
  • The arm that has been wrapped -the elbow of one arm would meet the inner elbow joint of the other arm and the palms joint and one palm raised than the other but joint and the fingers pointing the sky.
  • Don’t hunch your back. Lengthen your spine, head rising toward the sky, and spread your shoulder blades.
  • Engage your core for better balance, stability and proper alignment.
  • Fixing a particular point (one point) to gaze forward will improve your balance and concentration, increasing your self-awareness.
  • Keep breathing throughout the pose.
  • Don’t force yourself when you wrap your leg and arm. Wrap till you reach, and do it gradually.
  • When you come out of the pose, be slow and careful. First, release your arms and then legs.
  • Do it on both sides to maintain the balance.

Garudasana and Breath

  • As for other yoga poses, breath plays an important role in the Eagle pose. Take a deep breath when you start the Eagle pose by Tadasana pose.
  • Exhale when you bring your balance on one leg and cross over the other leg.
  • Keep a continuous breath flow when you wrap your arms.
  • Once set in the Garudasana Eagle pose, breathe gently and feel the stretch and twist.
  • Breathing deeply and gently will maintain your balance and stability and increase your self-awareness.
  • Steady breathing in The Eagle will improve your focus and concentration.
  • Once set in the Garudasana pose, breathe gently and feel the stretch and twist.

Garudasana Variations

  • Variation with only crossing the arms (eagle arms)
  • Another variation is the half-leg Eagle pose.
  • You can do it with the wall support.
  • Another variation is doing it by sitting on a chair (chair pose variation).

The Bottom Line

Garudasana is a twist, stretch pose. It balances your body on a single leg and increases your stability. It strengthens your muscles, improves digestion, and is good for the pelvis. It helps to increase focus and concentration toward your inner self and helps you to keep grounded. Regular practice calms your mind by reducing stress and anxiety.

Enroll now in our online yoga courses and deepen your practice today! We offer a wide range of certified yoga programs, 200-Hrs RYT Yoga TTC and 300-HRS RYT Yoga TTC and much more.

Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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