Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Garudasana is a pose in which the performer assumes the pose of an eagle. Therefore this asana or pose is called as Garudasana or Eagle Pose.
Garudasana or Eagle Pose
Garuda = Eagle
Asana = Pose, Posture
Preparation for Garudasana
- It is mandatory that Garudasana or Eagle Pose should be done on empty stomach. Therefore you need to have your food 4-6 hours before performing or starting this asana and give enough time for your stomach to digest the food and propel it ahead, so that it remains empty and settled while beginning the pose.
- For best results, Garudasana should be done after 10-12 hours after taking food and this would be early in the morning because this long hour of time is elapsed between the previous night’s dinner and next day morning. It is ideal to have early dinner the previous night and practice Garudasana or Eagle pose in the early hours of the following morning.
- Due to busy schedules and important commitments if you are not able to do this asana in the morning schedule, it may be practiced in the evening time also.
- Care also should be taken to keep your bowels clean and light before beginning Garudasana.
Method of doing Garudasana
Positioning for the Asana
Stand erect on a leveled surface of the floor or on the Yoga mat.
Performing and getting to the Garudasana
- Gently bend your right knee. Wrap your left leg around your right leg in such a way that the knees are stacked over each other, the left knee stacked over the right knee in this instance. Your left food (after crossing the legs) should eventually touch the shin of your right leg.
- Now raise your arms to the shoulder height. Wrap your right hand over your left hand (just as you did it with the lower limbs). Make sure that your elbows are bent at right angles and are also stacked (at the elbows).
- Now try to strike a balance in the pose as you gently bring down your hips. Your knees also should move towards the midline of the body instead of leaning to one side. This is very important to find accurate balance.
- Now you are standing in Garudasana or Eagle Pose. Hold in this pose for few seconds. Breathe slowly and deeply. Focus on your third eye (agna chakra, between your eyebrows) and let go of your negative emotions as you hold on to the pose.
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- Slowly release your stacked arms and legs and come back to the neutral position, the point at which you had begun the pose.
- Now repeat the pose by switching the limbs.
- After finishing on both sides, come back to the neutral position, stand still and breathe easily.
Tips for beginners
When you begin doing this asana you might just feel it difficult to tangle your arms around each other. You need to makes small adjustments to make the asana easier. Stretch your arms out and keep them parallel to the floor. Hold on to the ends of a strap. As you hold the strap tightly, try and wrap your hands (upper limbs) into position.
You might also find it very hard to latch your raised foot behind the calf of the standing leg. Press the big toe of the raised leg instead of the whole foot, until you get comfortable performing this asana. This will help you to maintain the balance.
Advanced pose (variation of Garudasana)
- To deepen the Garudasana, you need to lean forward and nudge your forearms into the thigh of the top leg, immediately after assuming the posture. Hold for a few seconds. Then come back up. Repeat the asana with the other leg.
Purva and Paschat Asanas
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Garudasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas –
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Prasarita Padottanasana
- Supta Virasana
- Supta Baddha Konasana
- Upavistha Konasana
Paschat Asanas (Post-Garudasana Poses)
- Adho Mukha Vrikshasana
Duration, health benefits
What time should be spent in the pose while doing Garudasana?
One can stay in Garudasana for 15-30 seconds on one side.
Health Benefits of Garudasana
- Garudasana gives good stretch to the thighs, hips, upper back, and shoulders.
- This asana strengthens the calf muscles.
- It increases the flexibility in the hips, legs and back.
- Relieves pain related (associated) with sciatica and rheumatism.
- The asana helps in improving your focus. It also improves your ability to balance yourself.
- Garudasana also works as a stress buster.
Effect of Garudasana – Ayurveda perspective:
Effect on Doshas
Effect of Garudasana on Doshas and Subtypes
Garudasana is a good pose to balance the equilibrium between Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu. By balancing these Vata subtypes, Garudasana helps in improving your concentration, focus and balance. At the same time, it helps to beat the stress and keep the mind calm, serene and focused. Calmness and tranquility of mind and senses enables you to focus on your daily activities and accomplish them to perfection. Garudasana also relaxes the body being one of the good exercises.
Effect on Dhatus
Effect of Garudasana on Dhatus –
Garudasana strengthens and stretches the Mamsa Dhatu (muscle tissue), of the back, lower limbs and shoulders. By doing so, the asana avoids the undue pull of muscles and nerves in these areas. Garudasana not only relieves pain in the limbs and back, but also prevents the pain and discomfort.
Garudasana, what it promises!
According to Indian mythology, eagle was the king of the birds. Garuda was the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. He was also a great warrior and fought against various demons. Garuda also means ‘devour’. It is said that Garuda identifies itself with the ‘all consuming fire of the sun’s rays’.
When you are performing Garudasana it is likely that you feel constricted. But once you master this asana, it gives a totally different feel. Your body will start feeling that it is ‘flying and riding in the wind, conquering it’ just like an eagle. Just like the eagle flows effortlessly in either direction, the energy induced by Garudasana also will flow effortlessly and uninterruptedly all over the body. This flow of energy helps you become steady, stable and spacious amidst challenging situations, without any barriers.
The asana seems to be tough while in the pose. Resisting it might make you tired and worn out. You are obviously tempted to recoil and give up in the midway. If you give up or resist while you are in this asana, you are by all means likely to lose the balance. If you do this asana with an open mind and immense courage, you will overcome all the obstacles. You will observe and experience a constant flow of positive energy through your body and mind.
Impact on Chakras
Eagle Pose stimulates the Muladhara Chakra or Root Chakra through the strong connection it provides to the performer with his Earth. This will help us to find our stability and keep us grounded, will invoke confidence within self.
Garudasana also lights up Agna Chakra – the Third Eye Chakra. This will help us to find our point of focus. The asana balances the solar and lunar energies within this chakra. It increases the alertness and intelligence, and makes the spirit feel aroused, enterprising and vivid.
Contraindications and precautions
Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Garudasana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Garudasana –
- Elbow injury
- Knee injury
- Ankle injury
- Varicose veins in back of the knees,
- severe knee pain, arthritis
Pregnant women shall seek medical opinion before performing this asana.
Just Before Finish
Garudasana is one of the best stretching exercises for the hip, back and shoulder joints, thigh and calf muscles. The asana strengthens and provides flexibility to these parts. This asana is also meant to devour fear, ego and doubt so that you can make way for positive intentions. Regular practice of this asana will make you strong and focused, just like the mighty eagle or Garuda. In this article I have covered in depth about Garudasana, the steps of practicing this pose, indications and benefits.
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