The world we live in brings with it several sources of frustration and worry. Yoga serves as a great outlet that helps let us effectively deal with these grievances and have peace of mind, body and soul. Set against this backdrop, this article seeks to enlighten you on one particular yoga pose - Garudasana, and all that it entails.
What is Garudasana?
Garudasana is derived from the Sanskrit words garuda and asana which translate to eagle and pose respectively. It involves the person practising it (i.e., the yogi) standing upright and twisting one arm with the other and one leg with the other.
The relevance of the name of this yoga position lies in the fact that in the realm of Hindu mythology, Garuda serves as the king of birds and is recognized as a vehicle for Lord Vishnu. This term brings to mind the regal stature of eagles who are powerful and can continue to fly for long stretches of time without stopping thereby “riding the wind”. In the same vein, Garudasana calls on yogis to ride with the energy this position brings with it and remain in the moment rather than putting up barriers.
This eagle pose requires yogis to maintain physical balance which helps centre their spirit by balancing dual forces. These forces range from feminine and masculine to motion and stability.
Types of Garudasana
While Garudasana is ordinarily recognized as a standing pose that requires the yogi to stand upright, there may be variations in how the yogi incorporates it into their yogic practice. This is due to the fact that different practitioners may have varied abilities and what one can perform with ease, another may not be able to do so.
Garudasana variations have been touched upon below.
Here the yogi only crosses one arm around the other in front of their face as opposed to doing the same with their legs as well.
Eagle Pose Performed with the Yogi Bending Forward –
Here, the yogi crosses one arm around the other and one foot around the other leg’s calf and bends forward rather than standing upright.
Eagle Arms Performed by the Yogi who is Seated –
Ideal for more elderly practitioners or those who have power lower body mobility, this position involves the yogi being seated and simply crossing one am over the other in front of their face.
Eagle Arms and Eagle Legs by the Yogi who is Seated –
Here, the yogi practices both aspects of the Garudasana pose (i.e., they cross one arm over the other and one leg over the other leg’s calf) while being seated.
Both aspects of the Garudasana pose are performed but as opposed to standing upright the yogi squats down and is provided with more balance.
Benefits of Garudasana
Garudasana benefits your body in several ways as is made evident in the points below.
How to Practice Garudasana?
Garudasana can be practised by following the steps featured below.
- Stand in Tadasana or “Mountain Pose” which involves your feet being slightly apart.
- Bend both knees and lift your right foot. At a slow pace wrap your right thigh over your left. Following this curl your right foot behind your left calf and hook it there. Make sure your knees don’t feel any strain and ensure your left knee faces forward.
- Bring your arms forward and wrap your left arm over your right arm such that your left elbow crosses over your right upper arm. Bring your right hand toward your face and cross your forearms and press your palms together. Your elbows should be raised to shoulder height.
- Maintain this position for five deep breaths and feel your upper back strech.
- Return to the original Tadasana posture and repeat with the other side.
Beginner’s Tip for Garudasana
It isn’t uncommon for beginners to find it hard to wrap their arms around until their palms touch. In order to be able to do the same, beginners ought to stretch their arms straight forward such that they are parallel to the floor with the aid of a strap. They should then press their pelvis down with their hands on their hips while keeping said strap taut between their hands.
How Often Should I do Garudasana?
Garudasana should be practised in moderation and each time it is practised the yogi must maintain the position for 5 to 10 breaths at most.
Precautions to Take to Perform Garudasana
In order to ensure that you practice Garudasana correctly and don’t injure yourself make sure you take into account the following suggestions.
Ensure that your hands are pressed flat against one another with your fingers long. If you find it hard to wrap your arms, place your hands on opposite shoulders.
Should you find it hard to balance, place a block close to the area where your grounded foot remains. Rest your foot here as opposed to wrapping your legs.
People who are suffering from diarrhoea or have carpal tunnel syndrome should abstain from practising this yoga pose.
Additionally, those with knee, elbow, shoulder or wrist injuries should avoid practising eagle pose.
Garudasana or eagle pose helps enhance concentration levels and improves one’s ability to balance. People often practise this yoga pose in order in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. However, life is unpredictable and you never know when you might experience health issues. It is therefore recommended that you purchase a good health insurance plan such that it can protect you with coverage in case you fall sick or injure yourself in an accident.