3 Prep Poses for Eagle

Stretch your legs and hips, strengthen your core and upper back, and improve your balance in these prep poses for Garudasana.

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  • Gomukhasana, with Garudasana arms

    Gomukhasana, with Garudasana arms

    Cow Face Pose, with Eagle Pose arms

    Benefits
    Stretches the sides of the hips and upper back

    Instruction
    Come to Tabletop, with your hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips, and tops of your feet against the mat. Slide your right knee left until both knees’ inner edges touch (both are still on the ground). Wrap your left leg around and atop your right leg so your knees line up; slide your feet away from each other, slightly wider than your hips. If your inner thighs protrude forward, use your hands to rotate them behind you. Gradually lower your hips to the floor, to seated, with hips between legs. You can place a prop under your buttocks to support your hips. Bring your arms in front of you, bent to 90 degrees. Swing your left arm beneath the right, and spiral your right hand and forearm around the left until your hands touch in Eagle Pose arms. Hold for 10 breaths; switch sides.

    See also Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

  • Spinal Balance

    Spinal Balance

    Benefits
    Improves core strength and balance; enhances proprioception 
(awareness of the body’s position in space)

    Instruction
    From Tabletop, stiffen your core as if putting on an imaginary 
corset. This results in front-to-back and side-to-side tightening. 
Raise your right arm parallel to the floor and in line with your shoulder, palm facing left. Lift your left leg until it’s in line with your hip and parallel to the floor. Hug the lifted limbs toward each other without actually moving them—making an isometric contraction—to enhance core engagement. Hold for 5 breaths; switch sides. Repeat 3 times on each side.

    See also One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II

  • Prasarita Padottanasana

    Prasarita Padottanasana

    Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend, with twist

    Benefits
    Stretches and strengthens the inner and outer legs and mid-back

    Instruction
    Take a wide stance with your feet parallel, approximately 3 to 4 feet apart. Ground equally through the inner and outer edges of your feet. With your hands on your hips, inhale to lengthen the spine; exhale as you hinge forward. Release your hands to the floor. Create stability by isometrically drawing your legs toward each other and pressing down from the outer hips through the outer feet. With your left hand, grab your right outer shin and pull it to your left, stretching and strengthening shoulder and back muscles. Stay for 5 breaths; switch sides.

    See also 3 Prep Poses for Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)

  • About Our Pro

    About Our Pro

    Teacher and model Robyn Capobianco, MA, E-RYT500, is a corrective-exercise specialist; her classes are a unique blend of self-myofascial release, classical yoga, and corrective exercise interspersed with splashes of science. Capobianco’s work is inspired by her studies with Jill Miller, Sianna Sherman, Richard Freeman, and Douglas Brooks, as well as by her formal education in integrative physiology. She is also a doctoral student in the Neurophysiology of Movement Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is investigating the neuromechanics of stretching and yoga. Learn more at functionalflow.com.