Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Garuda is the bird that transports Lord Vishnu throughout the celestial realms. This asana is ‘the eagle pose’ because it resembles garuda or an eagle.

Technique

Take a standing position. Raise the right leg and twist it around the left leg; if you have muscular legs you may find this a little difficult. Ideally, the right thigh should lie in front of the left thigh and the right foot should rest on the calf of the left leg. But it is only people with slim, flexible legs who will be able to achieve this. Other people must do the best they can. Now fold the two arms at the elbows. Twist the left arm around the right arm. Tiy to place the palms together so that they resemble the beak of an eagle, or garuda. This is the starting position.

Gaze at a fixed point in front of the body. Slowly bend the leg and lower the body as far as you are able, while maintaining balance. Only lower the body as far as is comfortable. Keep your eyes fixed on the point in front of the body throughout. This is the final pose. Maintain the final pose for a short time. Then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the practice with the right arm wrapped around the left arm and the left leg wrapped around the right leg.

Breathing, awareness and duration

Breathing should be normal throughout the entire practice.

One’s attention should be fixed on a point in front of the body. The best place is a black spot on the wall in front of and at the same level as the eyes. Awareness of a fixed point is the secret of doing balancing asanas.

There is no limit to the time spent in the final pose.

Benefits

This asana helps to bring about mental and physical harmony for the reasons given in the introduction. It strengthens the muscles of the legs, tones the nerves and loosens the joints. It helps to alleviate sciatica and rheumatism in the legs and arms. It also helps to relieve hydrocele if it is done regularly and for a reasonable duration. It also develops poise and grace in the body.

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