When we think of the quintessential American mascot, the image of a fierce bald eagle proudly stands before the stars and stripes. These beautiful creatures can fly for what seems like forever with a graceful ease, as they ride with the wind. Remember that feeling you got the first time you rode a wave? Or that instinctual comfort your body feels gliding through the water? When we’re on our mats, it can be difficult to release and allow ourselves to be with “what is” in any given pose or situation. But that’s exactly what Garudasana, or Eagle Pose embodies – it’s about finding balance while going with the flow. Staying strong and focused but also knowing when to “ride the wave”.
How to get into Garudasana safely:
1. Root through the standing foot.
2. From Tadasana or Mountain posture, step the feet hip width distance.
3. Shift the weight into the left leg as it roots into the earth and the arch activates.
4. Open the arms to the sides, then cross them over each other, left over right. Bend both elbows, lifting the forearms toward the sky with both palms together.
5. Find your drishti and soften the left knee as the right leg lifts. Bend the right knee and cross it over the left thigh.
6. If possible, wrap the right foot around the left calf. Squeeze the knees and elbows together, release into gravity and deepen the bend in the standing leg. Keep the elbows at shoulder height and spread the scapula’s open.
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