Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing yoga for life.

Eagle Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions


Strength-building, flexibility enhancement and relief from pain in your shoulders and your calves can all be yours by practicing Eagle Pose. In Sanskrit, this pose has the name Garudasana.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Variations

Garudasana

(Pronounced as "gah-roo-DAHS-anna")

In Hindu tradition, Garuda represents Lord Vishnu's vehicle: a large eagle who is the King of the birds. His name also describes how his body shines like the fire of the sun. In this pose, you develop the sharp poise, perfect concentration and balance of an eagle.

How to do Eagle Pose

Step One

Stand up straight on your yoga mat in Tadasana with your feet together. Bend your right knee to about a 45-degree angle. Cross your left leg across your right thigh so that the back of your left thigh rests rests just above your right knee.

Now twist your legs to the right a little to help stretch your left foot back, hooking your left toes back around your right calf muscle. As you wrap the left leg around, try to extend your left big toe to hook against the inner side of your right ankle. You should interlock your legs tight and squeeze them together to help you support all your weight on your right foot. Your toes will point down to the floor.

If you don't have the range of movement to wrap your foot around, then press your big toe against the floor instead to help keep your balance.

Step Two

Straighten your arms and raise them up in front of you, holding them parallel to the floor. Cross your right arm over your left arm and press your right elbow in front of the inside crease of your left elbow. Bend your right arm up to a 90-degree angle. Lift up your left forearm and bend your left elbow. Press the tops of your forearms together directly in front of your face. Reach your left fingers back to grab the inside of your right palm.

Pressing your left fingers and bottom of the right palm together, turn your right hand slightly so that you are facing the thumb of your right hand right in between your eyes. Extend the fingers of your right hand straight up to the ceiling.

Step Three

Keeping your arms intertwined, raise your elbows to bring them to the same level as your shoulders. Keep your elbows bent at 90-degree angles with fingers pointing straight up.

Step Four

Hold this posture for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Then you can release your arms and legs to come back to Tadasana. Repeat the pose on the opposite side, crossing your arms and legs in the opposite direction and holding it for the same amount of time.

Beginner's Tip:

If you struggle with wrapping your arms around to touch your palms, then use a yoga belt. When you straighten your arms forward in front of you, hold the belt between your hands. Follow the same steps mentioned above, then walk your fingers gradually closer together along the belt until you have reached your maximum stretch.

Eagle Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Garudasana

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

Students with recent shoulder or knee injuries should refrain from performing this pose. After several months, they can begin to practice it under the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher.

Modifications and Props:

If it is hard for you to balance in this pose, then stand with a wall behind you for support. Make sure that your shoulder blades and buttocks remain in contact with the wall to keep your back straight.

Deepen the Pose:

After you come into the full Eagle Pose, roll your shoulders apart, back and down. You should feel this stretch in your upper shoulders as you press against the resistance of your twisted arms.

Therapeutic Applications:

  • Cramps in the calves and shoulders
  • Lower backache
  • Recovery from old ankle injuries

Eagle Pose Benefits

  • Builds strength in the ankles and calves
  • Stretches out knots in the shoulders and upper back
  • Enhances concentration
  • Helps promote a sense of balance

Eagle Pose Variations

For a greater challenge, assume Eagle Pose and then bend forward while balancing. Place your forearms against the thigh of your top leg. Take a few breaths in this bend. Then inhale to come up. Repeat this variation after crossing your arms and legs the opposite way, holding it for the same amount of time.

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9 styles | 152 poses

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Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
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Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
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