"The state of yoga is attained via a balance between assiduousness (abhyasa) and imperturbability (vairagya)." - Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, 1:12

Garudasana is a standing yoga asana which is usually placed at the end of a series of standing poses. In this asana, one arm is twisted around the other, and the same is done with the legs. This asana gets its name from Garuda, a mythical bird and the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Although eagle is a loose translation of Garuda, this pose is also known as Eagle Pose in English.

Beginners often find this pose difficult because it requires flexibility to twist the arms to make the palms touch and to wrap one leg around the other properly. It also requires strength and balance to stand on one foot while maintaining the arm and leg twists. 

This is why beginners are sometimes asked to use a wall for bracing support while learning this technique. Even though this pose takes patience and practice to master, it has a number of benefits. Apart from stretching the arms and legs, it also opens up the joints of the shoulders, arms and legs. This asana is very effective in increasing concentration levels as well as improving muscle strength.

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  1. Garudasana (Eagle Pose) steps: correct way to do Garudasana
  2. Benefits of Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
  3. Precautions of Garudasana (Eagle Pose) and who should not do Garudasana

Before beginning Garudasana, you should stretch your body by doing Tadasana (Mountain Pose). The following are the steps for Garudasana.

  • Stand up straight and focus your gaze on a spot right ahead.
  • Bend the right leg, move your right thigh over the left thigh and gently wrap it around the left leg. The top of the right foot should rest on the calf of the left leg.
  • Bend the elbows and move them to the front of your chest.
  • Feed your right arm in through the crook of the left arm, then twist it around so that your palms touch each other. The left elbow should be placed below the right elbow once the twist is done.
  • The joined palms should rest in front of your nose, resembling an eagle’s beak.
  • Hold this position until you find your balance, then slowly bend the left knee to lower your body towards the ground.
  • Keep the back straight and maintain the focus of your gaze in front.
  • Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, then slowly straighten your left knee and gently release your twisted arms and legs.
  • Relax for a few breaths, then repeat the asana with the opposite arm and leg (i.e. left leg around right, left arm around right, right knee bend).
  • Practise three rounds of this asana on each side.

Modifications of Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Beginners may find this asana difficult, and so they should use the wall for support while they are learning to master this technique.

Once you master this pose, you can shift your gaze to your thumbs while you hold the pose.

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You can reap the following benefits by practising Garudasana regularly:

  • Improves concentration levels.
  • Improves balance.
  • Stretches out the muscles of the ankles, calves, thighs, hips, upper back, shoulders and arms.
  • Loosens the joints of the arms, legs and hips.
  • Can help prevent and treat health issues like asthma, sciatica and back pain.

The following precautions should be taken while doing the Garudasana:

  • Always practise yoga with a trained instructor who can correct your posture, breath and gaze.
  • Stop immediately if you experience any dizziness, though this is unlikely to happen unless you have a condition such as an ear infection or low blood pressure.
  • If you are doing this asana during early pregnancy, stop if you experience any dizziness. Do the easier modification of the asana if that feels more comfortable during pregnancy.
  • Make sure to prepare the body before you perform this asana: do abdominal breathing and Tadasana to focus your attention and achieve better balance.

Avoid this asana if:

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