Garudasana or Eagle Pose is a beautiful, spiraling swirl of a standing balance. It takes its name from the mythical Garuda, king of all birds and vehicle of choice for Hindu God Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as a majestic golden beast with a man’s body vast red wings and an eagle’s beak. Associated with the all-consuming fire of the sun’s rays, garuda can be literally translated as “devourer”. Poised, graceful, fierce, and with hunter-sharp awareness, it’s a powerful creature to emulate. However, on a bad day, garudasana can feel ungainly, awkward and wobbly. Below are five tips for a stronger,more stable pose
1. Prepare the Body
Garudasana requires openness in the shoulders, as well as engagement and flexibility in the lower body. Before you attempt it, practice some abdominal strengthening work to activate your core stabilizing muscles. Moving through cat-cow postures will help release the back of the shoulders. Finally, practicing a hybrid of gomukhasana legs with garudasana arms is an ideal warm up posture, as it prepares the outer hips for the leg wrapping movement, while imprinting the arm position in the body ready for the full posture to come.
2. Create a Stable Foundation
As with all balance postures, the firmer your base, the easier it will be to find and maintain your stance. For garudasana, it is far easier to establish the foot position before you wrap the arms, so that you can use the arms to stabilize on the way in. Enter from tadasana and bend both knees, then transfer your weight into the right leg, rooting your right foot securely into the ground. Feel both sides of the ball of the foot, and the inner and outer heel in contact with the earth. Pick up the left leg to wrap the thigh on top, then place the shin over the right lower leg. Finally, the left foot or toes can hook at the back of the right ankle.
Don’t have the full wrap? Don’t worry. Simply wrap your leg as far as it will go, then place the big toe on the ground or to a block. This will give the stability of the hooked foot, and allow you to take your focus into the rest of the pose. You can also brace yourself against a wall if necessary.
Take a few smooth breaths here, sinking the hips back and down while drawing the rib cage up and away from the pelvis.
3. Wrap Your Arms
Create a cactus shape with the arms, lifting the elbows to shoulder height then flexing and pointing the fingers straight up. Draw the elbows towards each other in front of the chest, wrapping the left elbow under the right and taking the back of the hands towards one another. Keep them here, or if it’s accessible, continue to wrap the forearms, bringing the palms together. Press the palms together and broaden across the collar bones to engage the shoulder blades on the back.
Keep the elbows at the height of the shoulders, while maintaining space between the tops of the shoulders and the ears. Send the breath into all sides of the rib cage and visualise your wings blooming from your shoulder blades and spreading open behind you.
4. Find Your Drishti and Take it Deeper
Traditionally in garudasana, the drishti or gaze point is to the tips of the thumbs. Make sure these are pointing straight up by pressing the base of the thumbs together. However, if focusing on the thumbs sends your balance off, try adjusting your focus to a still point through your arms directly in front of you. The intention through garudasana is to cultivate an unwavering focus and concentration, so use your drishti to help you do that, staying fully present in the posture.
5. Let go of Attachment
The most important thing in garudasana is to find your center. There’s little point in finding your physical balance if its at the expense of your mental or energetic equilibrium. So practice for the sake of the practice, not the finished pose. Maintain your mental equanimity through any wobbles or topples, and with steadiness of mind, find your way back. There’s always a second side to iron out any creases!
Written by Jade Lizzie and published on https://www.yogapedia.com