#26 Garudasana – Eagle Pose

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Eagles are well known for their phenomenal vision. Imagine acuity of sight four times as powerful as the most perfect human eye, and transparent eyelids that blink away dust while allowing continuous vision. Visualize an eagle soaring high enough to track territory within a three-square-mile radius and able to spot a rabbit running a mile away. Imagine having double focusing power that gives you the capacity to look ahead with binocular vision and depth of field, and yet also to focus sideways with monocular vision. Imagine the flexibility to rotate your head 270 degrees and to extend vivid colour perception into the subtle range of ultraviolet.

It is humbling, as human beings, to realize the limits of our own perception. Perhaps that is why, in mythology, the symbolism of birds and animals is incorporated into the gods and goddesses. For example, the mythical creature Garuda (whom this pose is named after) has the eagle’s head, wings and talons, and a human body. With its extended sight, as well as the power to soar to great heights and to strike its target with precision, Garuda is famed for its ability to destroy evil in the form of nagas, or snakes.

Symbolically considered to be a destroyer of obstacles on the path of Liberation, Garuda is also the vehicle of Vishnu, the Divine power that preserves life.

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Practising Garudasana is an opportunity to expand our own vision. As human beings we may not literally attain the magnificent eyesight of the eagle, but we can symbolically sharpen our knowledge, awareness and insight. Who are we, beyond the obvious? What can we see about ourselves? Learning from Garuda, can we observe the tiniest movement of negative thoughts within and take swift action to destroy them before they develop into serious obstacles? Can we become visionaries by seeing beyond the limitations of self-centredness, and observing how our actions now will influence the future?

Steps:

1.  Begin in mountain pose and bend in your knees while raising your left foot. Balance slowly on the right foot while crossing the left thigh across the other one. Keep the direction of your left toes at the floor while pushing your foot backwards.

2.  Place your foot-top behind the lower calf and support your body weight on the right foot.

3.  Extend your arms parallel to the floor, and expand your scapulas across your torso. Cross your arms directly in the direction of your torso. Place the right arm above the left and slowly relax the elbows. Lift up the forearms and make them perpendicular to the floor. Do make sure that the back portion of your hands is facing each other.

4.  Press both hands against each other in order to make sure that your palms face each other. Your right hand’s thumb must be able to go through your left hand’s little finger; if you are unable to do that, the pose isn’t coming out right. Press both palms together and raise your elbows gradually.  Extend your fingers and make them point at the ceiling.

5.  Stay in this position for about 30 seconds and unwind your arms/legs.  Go back to the mountain pose and repeat the position after switching the direction of your arms and legs.

§ If you are new to this pose, you may feel that you cannot wrap your arms around each other until both palms face each other. To resolve this problem, Stretch your arms parallel to the ground and hold both ends of a strap in your palms. Implement all instructions mentioned from step 2 onwards and keep the strap taut between your hands.

§ To augment the difficulty level of Garudasana, try exhaling pushing your stomach into a forward bend pose and make your forearms touch the top leg thigh. Remain in this pose for a few breaths and draw in the torso while inhaling.

Benefits:

•  Improves body balance
•  Stretches and soothes your shoulders, upper back and outer thighs
•  Stimulates coordination between the shoulder blades and prevents injury
•  Strengthens ankles, legs and feet.
•  Boosts concentration and enhances focus on important things
•  Creates stability on the core muscles
•  Instils calmness

Caution:

Do not perform eagle pose if you have a knee injury

Hope you enjoyed!

See you tomorrow!!

Namaste

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