Garudasana gets its name from Sanskrit where "Garuda" means "Eagle" and "Asana" means "Posture" or "Pose". It is also called Eagle Pose because of the shaped body assumes in final position.

Advertisement

In the final position, the alignment of the hands and legs resembles that of an eagle and hence the name.

Garudasana or The Eagle Pose is a standing and balancing pose that requires and develops focus, strength, and serenity in the whole body.

Advertisement

Garudasana or The Eagle Pose is done in the standing pose by balancing on a single leg with the other leg wrapped around it. Garudasana or The Eagle Pose can be practiced by everyone, except those suffering from severe arthritis of the leg joints. If you can maintain a sense of balance by standing on one leg, then you can easily attempt this pose though it requires a great deal of practice to master Garudasana as it requires you to balance the entire body on one leg.

Like other asanas, it is considered best when Garudasana or The Eagle Pose is practiced early in the morning. However, if because of some reason, you are not able to practice it in the morning, you can practice Garudasana or The Eagle Pose in the evening as well. Mornings are preferred as the food is digested and your body has the energy to perform the asanas. But make sure that when you are practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose in the evening, you should have your food five to six hours before you practice as your food takes this much time to digest.

Advertisement

Garudasana or The Eagle Pose helps in enhancing concentration. It focuses on strengthening and stretching the ankles, calves, thighs, hips, and shoulders.

 Garudasana or the Eagle Pose

Technique to Do Garudasana or the Eagle Pose

  • To practice Garudasana or The Eagle Pose, you must stand on the floor or on a yoga mat in Tadasana in standing position.
  • Tadasana In Standing Position
  • To practice Tadasana in standing position, stand straight and keep your legs slightly apart from each other.
  • Raise your hands above your head and look straight while focusing on one point in front of you.
  • Interlock the fingers of both the hands and turn them upwards in such a way that the palms are towards the ceiling/sky.
  • Take a deep breath or while inhaling, stretch your arms, chest, and shoulders upwards.
  • While practicing Tadasana, the gaze can be adjusted to look a little above while stretching.
  • Raise your heels in such a way that all the weight of your body is on the toes.
  • Remain in this position for 20-30 seconds.
  • Retain your breath while stretching.
  • While exhaling, come down to your original position.
  • This completes one round of Standing Tadasana.

Steps To Do Garudasana Or The Eagle Pose

  • Get in Tadasana or The Mountain Pose on the floor or on a yoga mat.
  • Keep your arms at your sides close to your thighs.
  • Bend your knees slightly.
  • Now from this position, to practice Garudasana or The Eagle Pose, balance the entire body on your right foot and cross your left thigh over your right.
  • Fix your gaze at a point in front of you. Try to close your eyes while maintaining the balance, if you can and stay in this pose for a few breaths.
  • Hook the top of your left foot behind your right calf while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • For Beginners, who find it difficult to hook the legs initially, can skip the foot hook and cross the leg over the top of the standing leg. You should not rest your other leg on the ground even if you are a beginner.
  • Extend your arms straight in front of your body.
  • Now, bring your left arm under your right to get into Garudasana or The Eagle Pose
  • Bend your elbows, and then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • Wrap your arms and hands, and press your palms together or as close as can you can while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • Lift your elbows high above your head and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling.
  • Keep your shoulder blades toward your waist while they pressing your back down while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose
  • Beginners, who are unable to touch their palms together, they can bring and press the backs of your hands together or they can use a strap as well to bring the hands together.
  • Place the palms together to resemble an eagle's beak.
  • Turn your abdomen inwards and upwards while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose
  • Slowly bend the left knee and lower the body until the tip of the right big toe touches the floor. Keep the eyes focused on the fixed point.
  • Breathe smoothly and evenly while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • This is the final step of Garudasana.
  • Hold for up to one minute, or for as long as you can.
  • Keep focusing on your breath and keeping your gaze fixed and soft.
  • To release Garudasana or The Eagle Pose, gently and comfortably unwind your arms and legs and return to Tadasana or The Mountain Pose.
  • Repeat Garudasana or The Eagle Pose from the opposite side.
  • You can practice 3-4 rounds of Garudasana.

Breathing Pattern To Be Followed While Practicing Garudasana Or The Eagle Pose

  • Inhale while folding the legs with each other.
  • Exhale when you have legs in position.
  • Maintain your breath while keeping your legs in this position.
  • Inhale while folding your hands in Garudasana or The Eagle Pose
  • Exhale when you are in the final position.
  • Try to hold your breath for a few seconds when in the final Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • Exhale deeply after releasing the pose.

Preparatory And Follow-Up Asanas For Garudasana Or The Eagle Pose

  • Preparatory Poses For Garudasana: The various preparatory poses for Garudasana or The Eagle Pose are Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward facing dog , Gomukhasana or
  • Cow's face Pose, Virasana or The Hero Pose, Supta Baddha Konasana or The Reclined Butterfly Pose, Supta Virasana or The Reclined Hero Pose, Vrishikasana or The Scorpion Pose and Prasarita Padottanasana or The Wide Legged Forward Bend.
  • Follow-Up Poses: The various follow-up asanas for Garudasana or The Eagle Pose are Adho Mukha Vrikshasana or The Handstand pose, Sirsasana or The Headstand Pose,
  • Gomukhasana or The Cow's Face Pose and Utkatasana or The Chair Pose.

Benefits Of Practicing Garudasana Or The Eagle Pose

  • The Bandhas practiced during Garudasana or The Eagle Pose massages the abdominal organs and stimulates the digestive system which in return improves digestion.
  • The movement and lifting of the chest while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose expand the intercostal area and allows for healthier breathing patterns which help in treating many diseases.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose helps in stretching and opening of the shoulder and hip joints.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose also makes the pelvic area stronger.
  • Regular practice of Garudasana or The Eagle Pose is also very beneficial in increasing the concentration and sense of balance in the body.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose also stretch and strengthen the muscles of the legs
  • With regular practice, Garudasana or The Eagle Pose helps in alleviating back disorders like sciatica and rheumatism in the leg joints.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose also strengthens the calf muscles.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose helps in balancing the mind, increases the power of concentration, and induces physical and mental relaxation quickly. The thinking process becomes very clear and precise with regular practice of Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose also helps in alleviating stress and curing mild depression.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose is very beneficial for the male reproductive organs and is specifically recommended for prostate problems.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose also helps in getting rid of Hydrocele.
  • It is also very beneficial for children of growing as practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose helps in increasing the height.
  • The bones of the vertebral column get developed and strengthened with regular practice of Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose also helps in improving the lung capacity when practiced with proper breathing techniques and helps in alleviating respiratory disorders like asthma etc.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose makes legs, knees, and ankles stronger with regular practice.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose also helps in getting rid of urinary disorders.

Precautions And Contraindications While Practicing Garudasana Or The Eagle Pose

  • People suffering from any ankle injury should avoid practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • People with any shoulder injury should also avoid practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • Garudasana or The Eagle Pose should not be practiced by people who have Plantar fasciitis.
  • People with low blood pressure should also not practice Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • You should not practice Garudasana or The Eagle Pose if you have had any recent injury in elbow or knee.
  • Pregnant women should seek physician's advice before practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • Get out of the pose or release the pose if you feel a sudden sharp and shooting pain in your legs.
  • If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert.
  • Do not over exert yourself while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.

Tips While Practicing Garudasana Or The Eagle Pose

  • Advanced practitioners can lean forward and keep your forearms into the thigh of the top leg to deepen the pose, once you have assumed the final Garudasana or The Eagle Pose. Hold for a few seconds. And, then come back. Repeat the asana with the other leg.
  • Beginners will find it difficult to join the hand together while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose. They can also use a strap which will help in joining the palms with each other while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • You can press the big toe of the raised leg instead of the whole foot to maintain balance while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose if you find it difficult to intertwine the legs with each other.
  • If you are in a hurry or if you are at the office and it is difficult for you to find out time to practice yogasanas, you can practice just the arms of Garudasana or The Eagle Pose which is generally referred to as Eagle Arms while sitting at the office or in front of the television to counter the neck and shoulder strain from sitting in front of a computer screen and from driving for long hours.
  • To deepen the pose, advanced practitioners can squeeze your thighs together and by keeping the inner thighs firmly pressing throughout the pose.
  • You can bring your hips lower in the pose by bending the legs if you have trouble in maintaining the balance or while intertwining the legs with each other while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose.
  • While practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose always make sure that you keep your hands, arms, and thighs in one straight line to derive maximum benefits from the pose.
  • Also, you will be able to balance your body even better while practicing Garudasana or The Eagle Pose when you intertwine and squeeze your thighs and arms as closer and tighter as possible.

Garudasana Or The Eagle Pose Variations

  1. Supta Garudasana Or Reclined Eagle Pose: Garudasana, when done while lying on the back, is called Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose.

    Steps to do Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose:

    • To practice, Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose, get on the floor or on the yoga mat with your back on the floor i.e. in Supine position.
    • Bring your legs in Garudasana or Eagle pose while intertwining your legs with each other with the right leg on top.
    • Bring your legs to the left side while staying in this position to practice Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose.
    • Try to bring the right knee towards the ground while practicing Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose.
    • To twist the spine, take your right arm to the right side of your body. Turn your head to the right and gaze at your finger tips while staying in this position. This will create a twist in your spine while practicing Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose.
    • You can deepen the twist by turning to the right even more while practicing Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose. The more you twist the more it is good for the flexibility and strength of your spine.
    • Hold the pose for a few breaths or for as long as you can while practicing Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose.
    • You can also close your eyes while practicing Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose and maintain breathing in this pose while keeping the focus on the third eye.
    • This complete one round of Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose.
    • Practice Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose from the other side as well.
    • You should practice 3-4 rounds Supta Garudasana or Reclined Eagle Pose from both sides to derive maximum benefits from the pose.
  2. Garuda Sirsasana or Eagle Headstand: There are various different variations of Garudasana or the Eagle pose possible, Garuda sirsasana is one of them. it gives added benefits of both Sirsasana and Garudasana. This requires a highly advanced level of proficiency and practice to perform Garuda Sirsasana and should be done by experts or under expert guidance only.

    Steps to do Garuda Sirsasana or Eagle Headstand:

    • When you are practicing Sirasana or the Headstand, from the final position you can separate your legs and cross or intertwine your left leg over the right leg or vice versa.
    • While practicing Garuda Sirsasana or the Recline Eagle pose, hook the foot of your twisted leg behind the ankle of the another leg.
    • Hold the pose for a few breaths or as long as you can.
    • Maintain your breath while practicing Garuda Sirsasana or the Recline Eagle pose.
    • Release the pose by coming into Sirsasana first and lower you're your legs and come down to release Sirsana or The Headstand.
  3. There are other variations of Garudasana possible. You can combine Garudasana with Baka Dhyansana or The Patient Crane Pose. This pose again requires a highly advanced level of proficiency and practice and should be done by experts or under expert guidance only.

  4. You can practice Parsarita Garudasana or Bound Eagle Pose by intertwining your legs with each other and at the same time lowering and turning your torso to the opposite direction towards your back. Bring your left arm between the left and right thigh and then lower and turn your body backward. Now, try to join both the hand together behind your back while staying in this position. This is an extremely difficult variation of Garudasana or The Eagle Pose and requires a highly advanced level of proficiency and practice and should be done by experts or under expert guidance only. It requires more balancing and even more concentration to practice Parsarita Garudasana or Bound Eagle Pose. Please be careful while practicing Parsarita Garudasana or Bound Eagle Pose.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 5, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest