Garudasana – Eagle Pose

Jul/31/2021 / by KT Hall
eagle pose
Image credits: Shutterstock

Ready for an energy-boosting pose? Eagle pose can increase your balance and focus while also helping you stretch those tight shoulders.

Exploring Eagle Pose

Eagle pose or Garudasana is a standing pose that’s an excellent way to open and stretch the shoulders, knees, upper back, arms, feet and hips. With the eagle pose helping to build balance and boost energy, it’s ideal for beginners and advanced yogis and yoginis who want to include it in their flow yoga sequences. Eagle yoga pose also benefits runners as the deep stretch can fill the joints with fresh blood. The deep leg, back and shoulder stretch can also give them a good stamina boost.

Because this standing posture strengthens the legs, the eagle pose can be used as a base for other variations of this particular asana. The Sanskrit root words from the eagle pose are Garuda (eagle) and asana (posture). Challenging both the body and mind, the eagle pose reminds you to focus on the present moment.

Benefits of Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

With this balance pose, Garudasana can help to restore your spirit, mind and body. It benefits in several ways that include stretching the hips and shoulders, promoting deep breathing, and increasing your balance and focus. With the hips and shoulders, Garudasana lets you receive a deep stretch the further you push back into Utkatasana (chair position). To stretch tight shoulders and hips to their fullest, wrap your arms and legs tighter.

Another benefit with Garudasana is that you can learn better balance and core strength as you practice concentration while in this pose. To achieve this, focus on a point ahead of you to help build your concentration. Then, use your deep breathing technique to help you stay in the pose especially as you open the lungs and back muscles.

This Garudasana can open joints like the wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows and hips. Additional benefits include that it detoxes the body and can flush the kidneys while circulating blood to the reproductive system.  

Eagle arms yoga pose is good for opening the hips. The added benefit is you can control how deep the hips are open. Simply sit further back in the chair pose. As you wrap your legs around yourself more tightly, the hip stretch becomes much deeper. That’s another reason the eagle arms yoga pose is recommended for runners or those with tight hips.

Want a hip modification with the eagle pose? Try wrapping your toes directly behind your calf muscle. Then let your toes rest on the other side of the mat as your thigh muscle wraps around and hugs your other leg.

Tips to Help with Getting into the Pose 

When exploring the benefits of eagle pose, there are different arm placement techniques. These can help you have a mild or deep shoulder stretch. With your elbows bent, cross your arms out in front of you and then take your hands and reach for the opposite shoulder.

Use your fingers to then help pull your arms past each other at the elbows. Hold this through a few inhalations and exhalations. Next, twist your arms out so that your forearms are now crossing. Spread your shoulders out more to achieve this. When your forearms are crossed, lock the fingers from the arm that’s lower into the palm of the arm that’s up higher. At this point, vary your pose. You can lift the elbows up or push the forearms out in front of you.

Steps for Eagle Pose

Start eagle yoga pose with an experienced yogi or yogini who can walk you through the steps. You might also find that a video tutorial can help you. Start in Tadasana (mountain pose). With your feet evenly in the mat, go into Utkatasana (chair pose) with your upper back straight. Take your right leg and lift it over the left.

As you inhale, lift the right leg over the left thigh and lock the toes on the standing leg firmly into the mat. Now, wrap that right foot beneath the left calf muscle. Squeeze the thighs together and take your right arm and place it under the left. As you sit lower in the chair, the right arm comes under the left and your arms are wrapped so that the palms then touch (or grasp the fingers on your left hand with the right).

Keep the knees and elbows in alignment with the shoulder blades. Breathe as you sit back in the chair pose and focus on a point ahead. Increase the deep stretch in your hips by sitting down lower. Then, go back into Tadasana and unwrap your legs and arms. You may wish to shake your limbs out again and practice one more time for a deeper stretch. Another option is to change sides and start the eagle yoga pose again.

Other variations of the Garudasana pose include tilting the top arm for an added stretch or tilting the arms down to the lower arm. That way you can stretch your spine and back out a bit more. As you can tell, with the Garudasana pose, there are several benefits of eagle pose and different variations to try!


What is Eagle Pose Good For? 

Eagle pose is a great way to open the shoulders, back, knees, hips, arms and feet. It helps to build balance and increase your energy. It’s good for those new to yoga as well as advanced yogis and yoginis who will include it with flow yoga sequences.

How Do You Get Into Eagle Pose?

Start eagle pose from Tadasana (mountain pose). Then, go into Utkatasana (chair pose). Keep the back straight and inhale as you lift your right leg over the left thigh. Lock your toes on the standing leg firmly and wrap your right foot under your left calf muscle. Squeeze your thighs together and put your right arm under the left. Next, sit lower in the chair with your arms wrapped and palms touching.

What are the Benefits of Garudasana?

Garudasana stretches the hips and shoulders while helping to improve your breathing, balance and focus. It’s a deep stretch that can alleviate tight or stiff hips and shoulders. 

Is Eagle Pose a Hip Opener?

Yes, Eagle pose opens the hips and you can sit further back in your chair pose for a deep stretch. It’s one of the reasons Eagle pose is ideal for runners.

Which Arm is On Top in Eagle Pose?

Different arm placements can help with Eagle pose. Bend the elbows and cross your arms in front of you. Next, take your hands and reach toward the opposite shoulder (right over left or left over right). Let your fingers help you pull your arms out past each other. Then, twist your arms and let your forearms cross and lock your fingers. Once you complete this, do it again with the other arm on top.


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