Garuda = the mythic “king of the birds,” the vehicle of Vishnu. The word is usually rendered into English as “eagle,” though according to one dictionary the name literally means “devourer,” because Garuda was originally identified with the “all-consuming fire of the suns rays.”
Step by Step
|For All Levels|
|Contraindications and Cautions|
Students with knee injuries should avoid this pose, or perform only the leg position described in the Beginner's Tip below.
|Modifications and Props|
Beginning students often find the balance in this pose very unstable. As with all standing balancing poses, you can use a wall to brace and support your back torso while youre learning to balance.
|Deepen the Pose|
Look at the tips of your thumbs once you're in the full pose. Typically the thumb tips point a little bit off to the side of the upper arm. Press the mound of the upper thumb into the bottom hand and turn the thumb tips so they point directly at the tip of your nose.
Garudasana is usually sequenced near the end of the standing pose series. The arm position in the pose is particularly useful in teaching how to widen the back torso in inverted poses like Adho Mukha Vrksasana and Sirsasana. Other follow-up poses might include:
Beginners often find it difficult to wrap the arms around until the palms touch. Stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the floor, while holding onto the ends of a strap. Follow the rest of the instructions stated in step 2 above and keep the strap taut between your hands.
Beginners also find it difficult to hook the raised-leg foot behind the standing-leg calf, and then balance on the standing foot. As a short-term option cross the legs but, instead of hooking the raised foot and calf, press the big toe of the raised-leg foot against the floor to help maintain your balance.
Here's a challenging variation of Garudasana. From the pose as described above, exhale and lean your torso into a forward bend, pressing the forearms against the top-leg thigh. Hold for a few breaths, then come up with an inhalation. Repeat on the second side.