Garuda = “King of the Birds”; Asana = Pose (Gah-rue-DAH-sah-nah)
This pose strengthens the shoulders, core, thighs, and ankles. It stretches the back and shoulders, and helps develop and improve concentration, balance, and resilience.
As always, check with your healthcare provider before beginning any physical practice. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure or if you are struggling to balance, avoid long holds in this pose. If your knees are weak or you have any recent or chronic injuries or pain in the shoulders, knees, hips, or legs, you may want to avoid the posture.
How to Practice:
- Stand in Tadasana with your hands on your waist.
- Bend your knees until you feel your quads engage.
- Shift your weight into your left foot and cross your right thigh over your left.
- Bend your left knee as much as you can while maintaining stability.
- Hug the outside edge of your right foot into the outside of your left calf, or wrap your right toes behind your left calf or ankle, if possible.
- Reach your arms out in front of you at shoulder level, and cross your left arm over the right. Reach both arms in opposite directions as far as you can. Bend your elbows and touch opposite shoulders. Raise your hands in front of your face. Cross your wrists and clasp your hands or forearms.
- Squeeze your arms and legs together tightly and bend your left knee to lower your hips. Adjust your torso so that your elbows are over your knees.
- Lift your sternum and elbows to support your spine. If you feel compression in the low back, press your tailbone down until the tension is relieved.
- To release, unwind your arms. Lengthen your left leg. Unwind your right leg, and stand in Tadasana.
- Relax your arms by your sides.
- Rest and observe, and repeat on the other side.
- Keep the hands on the waist.
- Arms lifted like wings.
- Foot on a block.
- Garuda mudra instead of eagle arms.
- Lean buttocks against a wall.
- Add a forward bend.