Pose of the Month - Eagle Pose



July: Garudasana (Eagle Pose)


When we consider "freedom" we often think of it as an outer experience, being able to move freely in the external world. And though that is one avenue of freedom, the yogi also experiences freedom internally. Eagle pose or Garudasana requires the practitioner to move the energy of the body inward in a complicated, twisted shape in the effort to experience freedom. It seems counter-intuitive. But there very purpose of this pose is to create the sense of feeling restricted or fettered, while allowing the mind to stay open and free. As such, we learn to focus, find balance, and breathe evening during moments that feel restricted.


Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. From Tadasana or Mountain posture, step the feet hip width distance. 

2. Shift the weight into the left leg as it roots into the earth and the arch activates.

3. Open the arms to the sides, then cross them over each other, left over right. Bend both elbows, lifting the forearms toward the face. 

4. Rotate the wrists so that the palms face outward. Draw the backs of the forearms toward each other until the right palm can connect to the bottom of the left palm.

5. Find your drishti and soften the left knee as the right leg lifts. Cross the right leg high as as possible over the left. Sticking the seat out behind you can help wrap the right thigh over the left. 

6. If possible, wrap the right foot around the left calf.

7. Lift the elbows in line with the shoulders and draw the forearms away from the face.

8. Squeeze the arms and legs toward the midline of the body. 


To modify or go deeper into the pose:

Modifiied variation: use a wall for balancing support or stay higher on the standing leg and modify how far the leg crosses over. 

Advanced variation: To go deeper into Eagle pose, send the sit bones way back and sink through the hips. Keep sinking until the elbows line up with the knees. Squeeze into the midline while staying soft and steady. 


Cautions and Contraindications:

 Knee or ankle issues, asthma, low back issues, sciatica


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