Build heat in the body during the winter season with Eagle Pose, Garudasana. Sink into Eagle to strengthen the legs and cultivate a steady and focused mind. Sinking into this challenging posture provides the opportunity to bring awareness and determined energy into the the present moment. As in all yoga postures, there are variations and modifications to best serve your body. Whatever variation you choose, focus the mind by following or “chasing” the breath and feel confident building balance and concentration.
To do the posture: Bring the feet together and the big toes to touch. Option to bring feet hip-width distance apart for more support and balance. On an inhale breath, bring the arms up over the head and on an exhale, bend the knees like your are going to sit into a chair, chair pose. Shift the weight towards the heels.
Swing the right arm under the left and cross at the elbows and at the wrist. Bring the palms to touch if available or bring the backs of the hands to touch. If this is not accessible, bring opposite palms to opposite shoulders to still receive benefits of opening in the shoulder blades and shoulder girdle. If arms are bound, lift the elbows in line with the shoulders to feel the opening in the shoulder girdle, and in the back between the shoulder blades.
Shift the weight to the left foot and on an inhale, lift the right leg up and over the left, crossing the legs as if you were crossing your legs while seated in a chair. Option to use the right toes as a kick-stand on the ground or try to wrap the foot around the left calf, hooking the toes behind.
Take whatever variation feels best in your body and to find steadiness and balance. Continue breathing in order to maintain balance and to keep awareness in the posture. Many times when we forgot to breathe and lose focus on the breath, we lose balance and fall out of the posture. If you do fall out, come right back in, without judgment. Imagine you are seated against a wall, allow the body to sink lower with the torso upright. Inhale and lift the chest and on an exhale, sink the shoulders back and down, sinking the hips lower.
Notice the knees, gently shift the right hip back to bring the knees closer towards the mid-line of the body. Notice the shoulders, square off the shoulders so that the knees, hips, and shoulders are working together to create symmetry in the body. Stay in the posture for 3-5 full-rounds of breath, inhales and exhales.
Slowly unwind and bring the arms overhead on an inhale touch the palms to re-set and repeat
the pose on the other side.
In eagle pose, we strengthen the legs, including the thighs, ankles and calves, while creating opening in the shoulders, hips, and upper back. We build tapas, or heat in the body, when we focus our entire energy on micro-movements that help us to find balance and composure. We can transfer this tapas or focused energy into our daily lives by working to be fully present in the moment. Working to not expend our energy elsewhere. This is one opportunity to utilize the qualities of yoga to bring more presence and meaning into our daily lives.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, In Rhythms Yoga, Clairemont, S.D.
Christi is a certified yoga instructor that focuses on teaching adults, small group, private lessons, and kids. She has an intimate space in Clairemont, San Diego, located in the Mount streets. Christi has experienced many positive transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve your body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the class
schedule and instructors.