Garudasana - The eagle Pose

At a Glance

In Indian mythology, Garuda is the king of the birds and is one of the three principal animal deities, along with Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, and the monkey god, Hanuman. Garuda is associated with Vishnu, the preserver god of the great trinity. He is known as a bringer of justice possessing supreme intelligence. The tradition of Garuda spreads far from India so much so that it is the national symbol in Thailand and Indonesia, as well as being a very prominent figure in all Buddhist countries. Its agility and sharpness of mind, and the balancing of the wind by both wings in action are all mimicked by this unique asana.

POSE TYPE
Standing pose

POSE CATEGORY
Extension
Balancing pose
Strengthening
Hip opening

ORIGIN
Gheranda Samhita

SANSKRIT
Garudasana
गरुडासन

PRONUNCIATION
gah-rue-DAHS-anna

TRANSLATION
Eagle (Garuda - A mythical bird carrier of Vishnu)
Pose (Asana)

Performance

STARTING
Feet parallel, legs straight, knee joints unlocked.

ENTERING
Stand stable on the left leg, and bend the left knee. Lifting the right leg, place the right thigh onto the left thigh. Wrap the right lower leg as far as possible around the left calf.
Lift the left upper arm parallel to the floor, in front of the body. Raise the left forearm so it points straight upward. Move the right upper arm under the left, and wrap the right forearm around the left.
Index and middle finger of the right hand catch hold of the left thumb, which is pointing upward.
The arms are then brought forward and downward to the level of the eyes, so that one can just look over the tips of one’s own fingers.
Keep the spine vertical, avoiding the tendency to lean forward.
Draw the right side of the pelvis backward, so that the hips remain squared, without any rotation, twisting, or tilting.
The head is in line with the spine in a neutral position. The eyes are open, with the gaze firmly fixed on a spot upfront, at the level of the forehead.

RELEASING
Firstly, unwrap the legs to come to a stable standing position on both legs. Secondly, the arms are unwrapped and the eyes are closed for the awareness phase.

ALTERNATING
Repeat on the opposite side.

VARIATION
Lean your torso into a forward bend, pressing the forearms against the top-leg thigh. Hold for a few breaths, then come up with an inhalation. Repeat on the second side.

Effects

PHYSIOLOGICAL
- Strengthens the leg muscles.
- Loosens the joints of legs and arms.
- Tones the nerves of the limbs.

ENERGETIC
- Activates the Third Eye Chakra.
- Activates prana in Sushumna Nadi, redirecting vital and sexual energy to the brain.

PSYCHOLOGICAL
- Harmonizes the mind, increases intelligence, and concentration.

Contra-Indications

- Knee injuries
- Pregnancy: avoid practice after second trimester

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