How to Do Eagle Pose in Yoga (Guide to Garudasana)

Eagle Pose is a standing balance that incorporates elements of hip and shoulder rotation. Performing Eagle Pose requires focus and determination, not to mention the physical aspects such as flexibility and strength. Although the full expression of Eagle Pose is considered an intermediate pose, it can be adapted to fit into beginner practice, preparing the body for a more advanced variation.

“Garudasana is such a complex yoga pose,” says Yoga Answered contributor Cat Harvey. “To me, it represents how multifaceted yoga can be. Eagle Pose takes hard work, but the benefits you get from practicing this pose are worth it!”

Eagle Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Garudasana
Pose Type: Balancing Yoga Poses, Hip-Opening Yoga Poses, Standing Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: Ankles, hips, shoulders, and thighs.
Benefits: As a standing balance, Eagle Pose improves your spatial awareness and your sense of coordination. It includes several distinct elements, increasing awareness of the physical body. As a balance, it strengthens the ankle, calf, and thigh of the standing leg and encourages stability in multiple joints. By crossing the legs, you incorporate internal hip rotation into your practice, stretching glutes and outer hip along the way. To keep the body still and unwavering, the core is engaged and strengthened in the process. The upper body gets its own workout: Eagle Pose stretches the muscles of the shoulder girdle as well as trapeze muscles. As a result, you can enjoy a wider range of motion in your shoulders.
Preparatory Poses: Chair Pose

How to Do Eagle Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Start by standing in Mountain Pose at the top of your yoga mat. Establish a gaze point to help you focus.
  2. Soften in the knees as you sink the hips back. Bring the weight into the left foot, carefully lifting the right leg and crossing it on top of the left thigh. Wrap your right ankle around the left shin.
  3. On an inhale, open the arms wide, then cross them in front of you, placing the left arm on top. Bend at the elbows and bring the palms together. Pull the shoulder away from the ears.
  4. Engage the core and sink even lower through the hips. Focus on maintaining your balance and breathing steadily. Stay here for 30-60 seconds, then repeat the same process on the other side.

Beginner’s Tip

Wrapping the ankle around the opposite leg can be difficult, so if your hips are not yet in a position to facilitate that, you can let the top foot hover. If you’re struggling with balance, you can rest the toes of the top foot on a yoga block for extra support. You can also adjust the preposition of your arms if wrapping the forearms is too difficult or if it causes you pain. You can either bring the back of the palms together or bring the hands to the opposite shoulder blades for a “hug.”

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