Eagle pose, or garudasana (gah-rue-DAHS-anna), requires a combination of balance, strength, and flexibility. A great stretch for your shoulders, upper back, and legs, garudasana creates space in your body physically, but also opens up space mentally. To sustain the posture, you must give it your full attention and commitment, drawing your mind to one singular point of focus.
From standing, bend both of your knees. Raise your right foot off the ground, bending your standing leg slightly. Cross your right thigh over your left, reaching your right foot back with toes pointing down. Option to place your right toes on the ground or hook the top of your right foot at the back of the left calf.
Distribute the weight in your standing foot equally to help create a solid foundation.
Cross your left elbow over your right and bend both elbows to bring forearms perpendicular to the ground. Rest the backs of your hands together or cross at the wrists to bring your palms together.
Lift your elbows up to shoulder height and away from you to increase the stretch through your upper back, scapulae, and shoulders.
Stay in Garudasana for 20 to 30 seconds with steady breathing. Release the posture and return to standing to repeat on the other side.
Although commonly known as eagle pose, the word “garuda” in Sanskrit really refers to a great mythical bird, one with a golden body, white face, and red wings. The king of all birds, Garuda is the vehicle of choice for Lord Vishnu, who serves as the preserver and protector of humans and creation. Garuda is the bird who managed to obtain the elixir of immortality, soma, in order to save his mother Vinata from enslavement.