Eagle Pose — Garudasana (gahr-ooo-DAHS-uh-nuh)
Is a standing balance pose that requires and develops focus, strength, and serenity. Using your breath and your gaze in this posture will help calm your mind and release distractions, allowing for quiet poise and stability in the pose.
It’s named after the mythological Hindu “king of the birds,” known as “Garuda.” Garuda was also the vehicle for the Hindu god Vishnu, who would ride on his back. The word “garuda” means “eagle” in Sanskrit, but it can also be translated as “devourer.” Garuda was believed to help humans fight against demons (and win).
Benefits of Eagle Pose
Eagle Pose stretches the shoulders and upper back while strengthening the thighs, hips, ankles, and calves. It builds balance, calm focus, and concentration. Learning to open the back torso is beneficial for advanced inverted poses, such as Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) and Headstand (Sirsasana).
Begin standing in Mountain Pose
1. Bend your knees. Balance on your right foot and cross your left thigh over your right. Fix your gaze at a point in front of you.
2. Hook the top of your left foot behind your right calf. Balance for one breath. Beginners can omit the foot hook and cross the leg over the top of the standing leg, instead, resting the toes gently on the floor.
3. Extend your arms straight in front of your body. Drop your left arm under your right.
4. Bend your elbows, and then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and hands, and press your palms together (or as close as you can get them). Lift your elbows and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back, toward your waist.