How to do Garudasana or the Eagle pose?

Yogendra Garudasana Cultural Asanas–for extremities.

Yogendra Garudasana; the eagle pose. It is important to maintain the flexibility of the body for physical and mental health. The suppleness and elasticity of the extremities as well as freedom of movement for the joints contribute in this flexibility. Yogendra Garudasana is an excellent pose which embodies twofold twists of the extremities, at one go. so lets learn how to do Garudasana or the Eagle pose? 

Starting position:

Stand erect with hands at their respective sides. Keep the feet together. Keep the neck straight and chest thrown forward.  The abdomen should be in normal contour, and the chin drawn in. Focus eyes at one point straight ahead.

Sequence of steps:

Step 1 (Practice with legs only):

  1. Lift the left leg and twisting the same, both at the hip-joint and the knee, twine (wrap) it around the right leg.
  2. Bend the right knee gently to help secure the twist, without strain.  
  3. Then, take the left feet around the right leg so as to lock the toes of the twisted left leg at the ankle of the right leg.  
  4. Once the balance is secured, try to straighten the right leg, keeping the body straight (above the trunk).
  5. Gradually increase the pressure of the toe-hold on the ankle till maximum twist is obtained.  
  6. Gently release the toe hold and un-twist the left leg to assume the starting position.
  7. Now repeat the above steps with the right leg.  

       Practice with hands only

Step 2 (Practice with hands only):

  1. Assume the starting position, as explained above.  
  2. Cross the arms (the left arm below the right one) and twisting the hands, at the elbow, twine (wrap) the left hand around the right arm and join the palms together.
  3. Keep the palms straight (pressed against each other) and raise them to bring the thumbs to the eye level. Gaze at the tip of the thumbs for a few seconds.
  4. Gently release the wrist and un-twine the arms.
  5. Return to the starting position and then repeat the above steps with the right hand.


Garudasana or the Eagle pose

Step 3: Dynamic variation (Practice with hands and legs as explained above):

  1. Assume the starting position, as explained above.
  2. Exhaling (slow and forceful), twist the left leg around the right leg, securing the twist by locking the toes as explained above.    
  3. Simultaneously, twist the left arm around the right one, joining the palms together, as explained above.  
  4. Maintaining the balance, straighten the right leg, keeping the body straight. Bring the thumbs (palms joined) to eye level. Synchronise the above steps in 3 seconds, while exhaling.
  5. Gaze at the tip of the thumbs for 6 seconds, suspending the breath (final position).
  6. Return to Starting position: Inhaling, gently release the toe hold and un-twist the left leg. Simultaneously, release the left hand, to return to the starting position. Complete this step in 3 seconds, while inhaling.  
  7. Now repeat the above steps with the right leg and arms, after a pause, to complete 1 round. If swaying is experienced, the best way to overcome it is to concentrate the mind on each of the movements, i.e. to become thoroughly aware of even the most insignificant variations in steadiness with a view to securing control over all unwanted movements.

Static pose

Attain the final position, as explained above, and breathe normally, gaze fixed at the tip of the thumb. Practice with both the limbs, alternately.

Recommended practice:

  1. Practice 3-4 rounds of dynamic variation in 1 session.
  2. Practice static pose for 1-2 minutes, as per individual comfort.

Limitations / Contraindications:

  1. Severe arthritis, vertigo and conditions like frozen shoulders and tennis elbow.
  2. Weak legs, weak neuromuscular co-ordination may limit practice of this Asana.  

Benefits of Garudasana or the Eagle pose:

  1. Helps to loosen the joints by flexing and stretching the tendons and muscles of the shoulders, elbows, wrists, pelvis, knees and ankles.
  2. Improves suppleness of the hands and legs
  3. Improves body balance, endurance and alertness.
  4. Enhances neuro-muscular co-ordination.
  5. Improves concentration.

Now that you know How to do Garudasana or the Eagle pose?  Keep practising

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