Soaring Like an Eagle: A Comprehensive Guide to Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

By Align/WELL

June 18, 2024

tutorial, yoga, yoga basics


  • Origins and Philosophy: Inspired by the mythical Garuda, Eagle Pose evokes the freedom and boundless energy of soaring eagles.
  • Physical Benefits: Strengthens and stretches ankles, calves, thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper back while improving balance and relieving pain.
  • Energetic Benefits: Enhances concentration, cultivates freedom and confidence, and fosters inner peace.
  • Key Techniques: Focus on breath, release tension, press into the standing heel, and lift elbows to enhance the stretch.
  • Modifications and Variations: Use wall support, tripod foot, block support, and various foot placement options to tailor the pose to your needs.


Delve into the mystical and rejuvenating world of Garudasana, commonly known as Eagle Pose. This intricate twisting posture wrings out tension and creates a sense of freedom and openness in your body, much like a game of Twister, rediscovering the joy of movement.

Origins and Philosophy of Garudasana

Garudasana is inspired by Garuda, a mythical bird in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, revered as the vehicle of the god Vishnu and celebrated as the king of birds. In Tibetan lore, Garudas are seen as magical creatures capable of flying indefinitely without landing – a testament to their boundless energy and ability to ride the wind. This mythical essence is embodied in the pose, evoking feelings of eagles soaring – free, open, and always flowing.

Benefits of Eagle Pose

Physical Benefits

  • Strengthens and Stretches: Targets the ankles, calves, thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper back, providing a comprehensive stretch and strength workout.
  • Improves Balance: Demands focus and stability, thereby enhancing your overall sense of balance.
  • Relieves Pain: Helps alleviate ailments such as asthma, low back pain, sciatica, and tightness between the shoulder blades and across the sacrum.

Energetic Benefits

  • Enhances Concentration: The complexity of the pose necessitates deep focus, improving your concentration.
  • Cultivates Freedom and Confidence: The sense of freedom and release from twisting and wringing out tension cultivates inner confidence and ease in your movements.

Getting Into Eagle Pose

Modifications and Variations

  • Wall Support: Use a wall to brace yourself if you need additional support and balance.
  • Tripod Foot: Place your foot at your ankle like a tripod for better stability.
  • Block Support: Use a yoga block under your foot if reaching the floor is too challenging.
  • Foot Placement Options: Depending on your flexibility, your foot can be positioned around your ankle, shin, calf, or wrapped all the way around your leg.

Tips for Practicing Eagle Pose

  • Breathe and Release Tension: Focus on your breath and consciously release any tension. Relaxing makes the pose easier.
  • Standing Heel: Press down firmly into your standing heel to help ground yourself.
  • Arm Position: When your arms are twisted in Eagle Pose, lift your elbows up towards your eyeline to enhance the stretch in your back.


  • Injuries: Avoid this pose if you have knee or shoulder injuries or suffer from low blood pressure.
  • Variations for Simplicity: You can practice just the eagle legs or eagle arms, or combine them with folded elbows as you bend your torso towards your knees.

Embracing the Energetic Benefits

Eagle Pose provides a significant boost to your energetic wellbeing, improving concentration and bringing a wonderful feeling of release and freedom. This pose also fosters a sense of ease and builds confidence in your practice.

The Joy of Twisting

Twisting poses, like Eagle Pose, offer the incredible sensation of wringing out and releasing built-up tension. After exiting Eagle Pose, you may feel remarkable lightness and freedom, much like Garuda, soaring endlessly through the sky.

As you practice Eagle Pose, breathe deeply into the twist. Imagine your body as a washcloth being wrung out, releasing all tension. Embrace the floaty, unburdened feeling and enjoy the sense of freedom Eagle Pose can bring to your practice.

Flowing Through Eagle Pose

Incorporate Eagle Pose into a flowing sequence to enhance the sensations of fluidity and freedom:

  1. Warm-Up: Start with gentle stretches to loosen the muscles in your legs, hips, shoulders, and back.
  2. Eagle Arms: From a standing or seated pose, bring your arms into the eagle arm configuration, lifting your elbows to open your upper back.
  3. Eagle Legs: Transition to standing and slowly wrap one leg over the other, finding your balance. Use the wall or a block for support if needed.
  4. Full Eagle Pose: Combine eagle arms and legs, focusing on alignment and breath. Hold the pose for several breaths, feeling the twist and stretch through your body.
  5. Release and Flow: Gently release the pose and come into a standing position, then transition to the other side.
  6. Twisting Flow: Move from Eagle Pose to a seated spinal twist, enhancing the sensation of release and freedom.


Thank you for joining us on this journey through Garudasana, or Eagle Pose. Remember, the goal is not perfection but exploration and release. As you practice, let go of any expectations and enjoy the feeling of soaring like Garuda. Embrace the twists, breathe deeply, and allow your body to find its freedom and ease.


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