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Eagle: Animal Yoga Pose Series

GARUDASANA

Level 1: Beginner

Benefits:

Strengthens the legs/ankles/feet and back/shoulders

Releases tension in the back and shoulders

Enhances balance and focus

Contraindications/Cautions (consult your physician):

Ankle/knee/shoulder injuries

Vestibular/balance problems

Thrombosis

Severe varicose veins

Garudasana front angle
From a solid standing foundation, cross the arms and the legs to open the shoulders and hips

1). Find neutral standing in Samasthiti

2). Inhale arms up and cross the left elbow over the right elbow in front of you, turning the palms inwards to face each other, and if possible, touch.

3). Ground through the left foot and lift the right leg up and cross it over the left leg, wrapping the right foot behind the left calf.

4). Exhale and gently draw the abdomen in towards the spine, lower down, bending the left knee more, putting weight into the back body. Keep the elbows lifted at shoulder height and gently push the hands away from the body.

5). Inhale and unravel bringing the feet back together and uncrossing the arms

6). Exhale in Samasthiti

7). Repeat on the other side, balancing on your right foot and crossing your right elbow over your left elbow.

8). Unravel when ready and return to Samasthiti. Energetically release by shaking out the arms and legs.

Garudasana side on
Gently draw the abdomen back towards the spine, and ground down through the back body

NOTES:

  • Keep your gaze (drishti) soft and focus on the back of the hands/fingertips.
  • To work in the posture for a few breaths, lengthen the spine up from the hips, and push the elbows/palms forward on inhalations and deepen into the posture on exhalations.
  • Engage core and squeeze your inner thighs together for balance.
  • If you have balance issues or knee problems, you can get the benefits of the shoulder-opening and stretch by crossing the arms as described in step 2 but from a neutral standing position, or sat inΒ Sukhasana/Vajrasana, or on a chair.
Garudasana pose on a lake
Be sure to work both sides for balance

IMG_3035

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