Don't see the eagle in Eagle Pose? Me neither. But I love this asana, non-the-less! I really enjoy challenging poses like Garudasana because there's so much going on. There are so many different themes to focus on, which keeps the mind occupied and away from anxious thoughts. Let's explore a few of them!
~Root Chakra for Grounding ~Leg Strengthening
~Balance ~Upper Back Stretching ~Twisting Binds
Root Chakra Grounding
The fullest extension of this pose has one foot wrapped around the opposite calf, balancing on one leg. I always, always say, "Before you lift up, you must first ground down." Think of your body in any balancing posture like a tree: The giant sequoias of the Redwood Forrest are able to grow up so big, tall, and strong because their roots ground down into Mother Earth. Before heading into Garudasana, make sure you take some time to ground yourself with a root chakra practice, meditation, or grounding postures close to the earth.
Center of Gravity
With all that twisting and binding, finding your center of gravity and keeping good balance is incredibly difficult! There's a few things we can do to help us find it, though. First, if you're really having an off balance day, use a block to support the top foot. Or whatever you have available! As you can see pictured above, I'm using the cats scratching post. Squeezing the thighs together and pulling the top hip back will help with the grounding. Then, activating Uddiyana Bandha will help you find your center of gravity while helping you find the lift necessary for this pose.
Stretch the Upper Back
See that bind I have my arms in? Turns out, it ain't easy. I have always been double jointed, so when I first taught this pose I definitely struggled when other's didn't have that same ease I did! But ya teach and learn. Now I've got plenty of ways to help my students stretch the upper back in order to achieve those eagle arms, and plenty of variations, no matter where you're at in your practice. Try wrapping your arms around yourself, giving yourself a hug, if the full expression isn't available to you atm.
Full Body Bind
This full body bind brings fresh blood to the 12 major joints in the body - ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. In order to achieve all these binds, I like to incorporate lots of twisting in my practice, lubricating the joints and preparing them for the intense constriction and release of blood flow.
This crazy looking pose can be as extreme or gentle as you like, you just need to know what you're doing! If you need some help getting there or want some personalized attention deepening your practice or knowledge of yoga, don't hesitate to reach out! Try out this asana or any of the variations mentioned, and make sure to tag me! @BlyssedOutYoga (Don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook, too.)